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Midnight chants mark Groundhog Day's official start in Punxsutawney

Midnight chants mark Groundhog Day's official start in Punxsutawney

Groundhog Day stems from the European holiday known as Candlemas, a Christian "festival of lights" in the bleak midwinter of February 2.

Some people tend to hold their breath in hopes a rodent, dubbed Punxsutawney Phil, doesn't see its shadow, ensuring spring is right around the corner.

Bad news for warm-weather fans: beloved groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, therefore predicting that winter will stick around for another six weeks in 2018. Last year, she called it correctly - an early spring - but we don't have a complete record of her earlier predictions.

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This holiday has been celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for over 130 years.

"The settlers found that groundhogs were plentiful and were the most intelligent and sensible animal to carry on the legend of Candlemas Day", according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. The club also notes that there has been only one Phil, crediting his longevity to drinking a secret "groundhog punch" every summer at the Groundhog Picnic.

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Thousands of people travel to Punsxutawney annually to witness Phil's Groundhog Day weather forecast.

Groundhog Day, or some variation of it, dates back to medieval times and the Christian celebration Candlemas, according to History.com, which is operated by The History Channel. Out at Gobbler's Knob he climbs out of his burrow and if he sees his shadow and retreats, its a sign of six more weeks of winter.

Here's a look at Phil's predictions over the past 10 years, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's records.

That may not have sat well with other groundhog hunters in the area, but nevertheless, it was the start of a yearly tradition that has grown more popular each year.

However, some conspiracy theorists say he's just copying the Pennsylvania rodent, who always makes his prediction at 8 a.m., while Potomac Phil's prognostication comes a half-hour later.

Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog will soon be back in the spotlight - or will it be the shadows? One sip gives Phil another seven years. "Because Phil's never wrong.we blame the variants on the president's interpretation of Phil's prediction".