Check out Groundhog Day 2024: Punxsutawney Phil announces an early arrival of spring.

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Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog who has been predicting the end of winter since 1887, has made his proclamation. “Good news on this Groundhog Day. Spring is on its way,” the announcement was made at Gobbler’s Knob, delighting the crowd of thousands who braved the cold to witness the event. Many people flocked to Punxsutawney, Pa., to witness the annual duty of the town’s beloved groundhog in person, while even more watched the live video stream online. However, there is a catch.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Phil has only been accurate about 30% of the time in the past decade. Yet, despite this, we find ourselves in an era where countless individuals rely on their smartphones to find out if a weather-predicting rodent foresees six more weeks of winter.

Welcome to Groundhog Day in 2024, where ancient Celtic traditions blend with modern technology. “It’s the heart of winter, quite literally. Honestly, we’re bored and searching for something to keep us entertained during this time of year,” shared biology professor Christine Maher from the University of Southern Maine with NPR. “Perhaps speculating about the weather is an eccentric way to keep us engaged. And maybe we’re desperate for a sign that spring is on its way!” The practice of seeking signs of an early spring or prolonged winter originates from the Christian observance of Candlemas, which has its roots in even older customs. “Candlemas was originally a Celtic festival that marked the ‘cross-quarter day,’ or the midpoint of the season,” as stated on the Almanac website. “The Sun is halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.” By celebrating the groundhog, we are essentially celebrating the return of light and the promise of spring.

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