MANCHESTER – It’ll be an early Spring everywhere according to the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxatawney Phil. Surrounded by thousands of people early Saturday morning, the Inner Circle read Phil’s official proclamation, “Faithful followers, there is no shadow of me. A beautiful Spring it shall be!”.
In Connecticut, Manchester Mayor Jay Moran translated the official Connecticut groundhog, Chuckles, as saying “Spring is on!”.
The Connecticut groundhog was brought to the Lutz Children’s museum after she was found injured in a battle with a larger animal. She was cared for and brought back to good health at Meigs Point Nature Center in Madison before starting her new career in Manchester as the official Groundhog Day meteorologist. She is able to predict the forecast even with one eye!
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo also has their own forecaster, “Beardsley Bart”, a prognosticating prairie dog. Zoo Director Gregg Dancho says that Beardsley Bart DID see his shadow, meaning there are six more weeks of winter here in Connecticut.
The first Groundhog Day was celebrated in 1887 but its roots go back to the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas. Clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The number of candles represented how long and cold winter would be. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania, they continued the tradition of using an animal meteorologist to predict the winter and instead of using hedgehogs, they used groundhogs.