Groundhog Day Comes Again

 On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s groundhog extraordinaire, will again stick his head out of his den. The nation awaits his verdict.
Groundhog Day is said to have its origins in ancient weather lore where the prognosticator was often a badger or a sacred bear. In the United States, its origin is said to come from a Pennsylvania German custom.
 If Phil, peeking from his burrow, fails to see his shadow, winter will soon be over. If the sun happens to be shining and Phil sees his shadow, winter will continue for six more weeks.
 The first trek to meet with Phil began in 1887. He has been emerging from his burrow in Pennsylvania ever since, always eager to greet his public.
Phil is private in many ways, but a few rumors have circulated about him.
 *He gets his longevity from drinking the “elixir of life” of which he takes one sip every summer during the Groundhog Picnic. This gives him seven more years of life.
 *It is said he is named after King Philip, a famous Native American leader. In his more plebeian days, he was called Br’er Groundhog.
 *He speaks only in Groundhogese, which luckily is a language understood by the President of the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle provides for Phil during the year, rather like a court provides for its king.
 The city of Punxsutawney offers several days of celebration for those who gather from around the world to hear Phil’s proclamation. The city offers food, music, carriage rides, magicians, crafts and games.

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