NBC News reports the weather predicting groundhog emerged from his burrow in front of a crowd of thousands at Gobbler’s Knob in Western Pennsylvania.
The groundhog’s “inner circle” led him to a tree stump to see if his shadow would appear before announcing “six more weeks,” which was chanted repeatedly by the crowd in attendance.
Punxsutawney’s event is the most famous of the Groundhog Day festivities held in both the U.S. and Canada, which formally began in 1887, but is believed to have roots dating back even earlier.
During the annual February 2 ceremony, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob and determines whether the next six weeks will see more winter-like weather.
If Phil sees his shadow, more winter weather is expected; if not, an “early spring” is expected.
Last week, the animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) called for Punxsutawney Phil — the center of the moust famous Groundhog Day festivities — to be retired prior Groundhog Day festivities.
The letter, which is addressed to Jeff Lundy, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, was shared on PETA‘s website and asked for the famed groundhog, as well as his companion, Phyllis, to be replaced, offering to send Lundy and the Groundhog Club a persimmon tree to plant in Gobbler’s Knobb, arguing that the trees are reported to be “accurate in predicting the weather 25% of the time, not too far off from Phil’s average.”
PETA has previously made public efforts to encourage Phil’s retirement, which included a suggestion for the groundhog to be replaced with an animatronic version of himself that would use technology to predict weather, which was also reiterated in the most recent letter.