The John DeBella Show

John DeBella retired from radio on June 30th, 2023. Explore this archive of the most memorable moments of the John DeBella Show on WMGK.

The most ridiculous winter tradition continued this morning out in the small western Pennsylvania town of Punxsatawney. The townsfolk, dressed in their Sunday best, pulled a rodent out of his hole and made a prediction regarding the weather. Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which from what I read 2 minutes ago (and will have to refresh my memory of the meaning every year on this date because I just can’t ever remember), means we are going to get 6 more weeks of winter.

If you don’t know how this whole thing works, Phil’s area is surrounded by lights, because they do this while it’s just barely dawn. With all the lights he’s more likely than not he’s going to see his shadow, because that’s how shadows work. So we’re in for 6 more weeks of winter weather. If this is the winter weather we’re going to keep getting, well it could be worse. No snow yet. Don’t tell Phil, but next week it’s going to be in the mid 50’s, getting to 60 next Saturday.

6 1/2 weeks from today is March 20th… the first day of Spring.

The History of Groundhog Day & 6 Facts You May Not Have Known

Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2; the holiday started in 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Each year, Punxsutawney Phil makes his prediction about whether we will get an early spring or six more weeks of winter. If he sees his shadow when he comes out of his burrow, that means six more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow, an early spring!

Want to see what Phil decides? You can watch him make his prediction this 136th Groundhog Day online here:

  • The History of Groundhog Day

    The tradition of Groundhog Day started in Europe as Candlemas Day, clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter, which represented how long the winter would be. In the 1700s Germans who settled in Pennsylvania brought the custom to America but selected an animal to predict the weather.

  • First Celebration of Groundhog Day

    In 1886 a local newspaper first wrote about Groundhog Day, but the first official celebration of Groundhog Day took place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1887. A group of businessmen made their way to Gobbler’s Knob and formed the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Nowadays, every February 2, spectators attend Groundhog Day events in Punxsutawney.

  • Punxsutawney Phil's Odds

    Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow ninety-seven times, and has not seen it fifteen times, making his predictions accurate approximately 39% of the time.

  • Groundhogs Live in Burrows

    Groundhogs grow between eight to twelve pounds and live between six to eight years. They dig burrows for homes that can be anywhere from eight to sixty-six feet long and hibernate in their burrows until February 2nd.

  • True Hibernators

    Groundhogs are called “true hibernators” because they can reduce their heartbeat to as little as five beats per minute and drop their body temperature down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit while they hibernate.

  • It was Almost Badgers Day

    When the Germans settled in Pennsylvania they had a hard time finding badgers which they traditionally used on Candlemas Day, so they made the switch the a groundhog.

  • Punxsutawney Phil is Married

    Phil has a wife named Phyllis and they both live in the town library at Gobbler’s Knob.

  • People Used to Eat The Groundhog

    During the first celebration, The Punxsutawney Groundhog considered the groundhog to be a delicacy, so they ate their namesake.

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