Unfortunately, that means six more weeks of winter. Phil's handlers say he's never been wrong in a prediction. Records from Punxsutawney's first Groundhog Day observances refer to the length of shadows when the groundhog appeared.
The mid-winter observance dates back to 1887. It stems from beliefs associated with Candlemas Day during early Christianity in Europe. Candles would be distributed to mark the coming of longer days in the spring. Pennsylvania's early German settlers had a rhyme that says, "for as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl until the May." They decided if the sun appeared on February 2 and a groundhog saw its shadow, the creature would scurry back underground and winter would last for six more weeks.