2023 Groundhog Day – Here Comes Spring!


Jack Pasquale

Groundhog Day 2023 will go down as one for the history books. Just many furry, feathery, and scaly prognosticators across the U.S. were predicting an early spring, Mother Nature was getting ready to pound most of the U.S. with freezing cold and high, gusting winds. 

Groundhog Day originated as a farming related tradition in Germany and was brought to the U.S. by immigrants making Pennsylvania their new home. Hedgehogs were originally used in Germany but are not native to America. As a result, the more commonly found groundhog took center stage. Tradition has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow upon waking up on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather, while no shadow means an early spring.

Over time, Punxsutawney Phil has become synonymous with Groundhog Day after being immortalized in the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day. Phil’s handlers, known as the Inner Circle, host a big unveil production annually. The Punxsutawney celebration is by far the biggest and adds new entertainment each year, including bands, local celebrities, politicians and fireworks. Staten Island Chuck is more infamous than famous after being dropped by former Mayor Bill de Blasio and once biting Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

Don’t let Punxsutawney Phil’s celebrity status fool you! In weather predictions, accuracy is what matters. Staten Island Chuck boasts an 80% accuracy record going all the way back to 1981, according to the Staten Island Zoo. Compare that to Punxsutawney Phil, who is not even right 40% of the time. Phil’s handlers dispute this and claim he is 100% accurate, with any error in predicting the weather being due to the handler not understanding the Groundhogease Phil was clearly communicating to him.