Winter 2012 will have an extended stay on America's calendar, according to today's annual Groundhog Day forecasting event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Each year on February 2nd, people from around the world, including 5,000 in the small town today, watch this tongue-twisting small town for a sign from one groundhog that supposedly predicts when that year's spring will arrive:
If it's a cloudy day outside when the groundhog emerges from its burrow, then spring will arrive early that year. However, if it is sunny outside, the groundhog will supposedly be scared by its own shadow, retreating underground for six more weeks of cold weather.
Of course, Punxsutawney Phil's prediction is no more able to guarantee the extended forecast than your local weatherman. ABC News reports that an analysis by the National Climate Data Center found that Phil's predictions are more often wrong than right.
Phil is also found of gloomy predictions. Ever since 1887, he has predicted 99 extended winters and just 16 early springs. Nine of the year's predictions were unavailable, according to ABC.
The holiday began as a German tradition in 18th century Pennsylvania and became even more of a cultural phenomenon after the 1993 film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.
Punxsutawney Phil has become a celebrity in his own right. Each year, the chubby rodent is watched by millions as he emerges from a burrow in the town he is named after. Phil has become so beloved by the town that he actually lives in the local library with his "wife" Phyllis.
Taking inspiration from the plight of Bill Murray's character in the classic film, Yahoo contributor Owen Rust says Groundhog Day is a good time to reflect on one's routines.
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