Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2 in the U.S. A groundhog is a kind of rodent.
According to German folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter will continue for six more weeks.
America's most celebrated groundhog is called Phil.
In an annual ritual, this Pennsylvania groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil predicts the weather.
According to his handlers at the ceremony in the town of Punxsutawney, Phil was brought out of his burrow and did not see his shadow on Saturday, meaning, obviously, that the seasonal shift is in the offing. Had he seen his shadow, winter would have gone on another six weeks.
"And so ye faithful,/ there is no shadow to see/ An early Spring for you and me," Phil announced on his website: www.groundhog.org.
The groundhog, or rather his long line of ancestors and look-alikes bearing the same name, is a national media star and was at the center of the 1993 Bill Murray comedy "Groundhog Day."
Groundhog Day started with a German tradition in which farmers monitored the animal's behavior closely to make decisions about when their fields should be planted.AFP