Groundhog Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter in US
North America will have six more weeks of winter, says "Punxsutawney Phil," the most famous groundhog in the United States.
Phil's keepers reported his weather prediction Friday morning on the U.S. observance of "Groundhog Day."
Every year, on February 2, a groundhog leaves his home, a hole in the ground in the small community of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. On a sunny morning, his body will create a shadow on nearby objects. Tradition says that if the animal sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. But if skies are cloudy, and no dark shape appears, Americans can expect spring to arrive early.
An unusual tradition
Groundhog Day is one of the more unusual American traditions. Every year, thousands of people from across the U.S. travel to Punxsutawney. On the night of February 1, they go to a hill called "Gobbler's Knob." There, they wait until sunrise, when Phil leaves his home to look for his shadow.
Groundhog Day is said to come from a European tradition called "Candlemas." February 2 was the middle of winter, and in Europe, clergymen would give candles to people at religious services. When lit, the candles brightened up the community in the dead of winter.
Later, in Germany, the tradition changed, and people instead began looking for signs of increased sunlight and changes in the weather. If an animal saw its shadow on Candlemas Day, this meant six more weeks of winter, or the "Second Winter."
The tradition came to North America when German immigrants arrived in what is now the eastern state of Pennsylvania. They chose the groundhog, a large rodent and member of the marmot family, as the animal to continue the tradition.
The first official Groundhog Day at Gobbler's Knob was held in 1887. The event has continued there ever since.
Part of American culture
Groundhog Day has become part of American culture. Other states now celebrate their own Groundhog Day, with their own groundhog. In North Carolina, his name is Sir Walter Wally. In West Virginia, people turn to French Creek Freddie. Georgia has General Beauregard Lee.
New York City also marks the day with Chuck the groundhog. In 2009, Chuck famously bit the hand of the city's mayor at the time, Michael Bloomberg, when he came out of his home.
Washington, D.C., has a small tradition involving a stuffed groundhog. Some people use the animal to make predictions about the "political climate" of the country.
Aaron DeNu told The Washington Post newspaper that every year his groundhog predicts "six more weeks of political gridlock...and so far, he's always been right."
Groundhog Day has also been popular in American media. In the 1993 film "Groundhog Day", a reporter visits Punxsutawney for the big event, but becomes stuck in time. He then has to repeat the same day, over and over again, until he becomes a better person.
Can animals predict the weather?
Although Americans hear Phil's weather prediction every February 2, it is not clear how correct the groundhog is.
The Stormfax website researched all the predications since 1887 and found that he has seen his shadow 104 times (79 percent). Yet the animal has been right only 39 percent of the time.
However, his record does not ruin the excitement of people who travel to see him.
Doug Sacrison traveled over 4,000 kilometers from Washington State this year to attend his first Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney. Sacrison said that he finally has "lived a lifelong dream."
"I think Groundhog Day may be my single favorite part of America," he said. "It's all just for fun... and there's something magical about getting excited about something that silly. I think it was the coldest temperature I had ever stood in, but the fun of it all kept me warm and smiling well after Phil made his prediction.
"I think the next six weeks won't be so bad after all."
I'm Phil Dierking.
1.weather prediction 天气预测
Weather prediction has never been a perfect science.
2.after all 毕竟
After all he is still a schoolboy.
3.travel to 前往
He was unable to travel to Barcelona with the rest of the team.
4.turn to 转向
There was no one to turn to, no one to tell.
5.When lit, the candles brightened up the community in the dead of winter.
bright up 使...变亮
If you're handy with a needle you could brighten up your sweater with daisies.
It could do with a lick of paint to brighten up its premises.
6.He then has to repeat the same day, over and over again, until he becomes a better person.
over and over again 一再地
We had to do the scene over and over again, from different angles
This is what she has been saying over and over again--I don't know how many times.
每年2月2日，一只土拨鼠会离开家——一处位于宾夕法尼亚州庞克瑟托尼小社区地下的小洞 。在一个阳光明媚的早晨，他的身影会投射在附近的物体上 。传统上说，如果土拨鼠能看到自己的影子，意味着冬季还有6周才结束 。不过如果天气多云，土拨鼠看不到黑色的影子，那么春天会提前到来 。
“土拨鼠日”是美国不同寻常的传统之一 。每年，美国各地会有成千上万的人来到庞克瑟托尼 。2月1日晚间，他们到一座名叫火鸡丘（Gobbler’s Knob）的山上 。他们在那里等待日出，届时土拨鼠菲尔会离家寻找自己的身影 。
据说，“土拨鼠日”出自欧洲一个名为“圣烛节”的传统 。每年的2月2日为隆冬时节，欧洲的牧师们会在宗教仪式上为信徒发放蜡烛 。到时，烛光会照亮整个沉寂的冬日社区 。
在德国，这一传统后来发生了变化，人们开始预测阳光和气候变化等迹象 。如果一只动物在圣烛节当天看到自己的影子，意味着冬天还将持续6周，或者“第二个冬天” 。
随着德国移民移居如今的美国东部宾夕法尼亚，这一传统传到了北美 。他们选择了硕大啮齿类动物、土拨鼠家族一员——土拨鼠作为延续这一传统的动物 。
1887年，首个“土拨鼠日”在火鸡丘正式举办 。自此，这一节日才延续下来 。
“土拨鼠日”成为了美国文化的一部分 。如今，其他州也纷纷用土拨鼠庆祝这一节日 。北卡罗莱纳的土拨鼠名为“沃尔特·沃利” 。在西弗吉尼亚州，人们求助于法国的“克里克·弗雷迪” 。而乔治亚州的土拨鼠叫“普瑞德·李将军” 。
纽约市用土拨鼠“查克”纪念这一节日 。2009年，纽约市市长迈克尔·布隆伯格离家后被土拨鼠“查克”咬伤手，自此这只土拨鼠声名大噪 。
华盛顿特区有一个土拨鼠玩偶的传统 。有些人用这个玩偶来预测国家的“政治气候” 。
“土拨鼠日”也备受美国媒体喜爱 。在1993年的电影《土拨鼠日》中，一位记者来到了庞克瑟托尼感受“土拨鼠日”，但却陷入时间的漩涡 。他不得不一直重复这一天，最后直到他变成一个更好的人，这一天才终于翻篇 。
Stormfax网站分析了1887年以来的所有预测，他们发现，土拨鼠看见影子的次数为104(79%) 。但是，预测的准确率只有39% 。
今年，道格·圣森从华盛顿州出发前往庞克瑟托尼庆祝其首个“土拨鼠日” 。圣森说，他终于“实现了毕生的梦想” 。
“‘土拨鼠日’可能是我个人最喜欢美国的原因之一，”他说 。“这一切只是为了取乐…但神奇的是，我对这件看似愚蠢的事感到兴奋不已 。虽然这里的天气让我胆寒，但菲尔做出预测后，这一乐趣让人觉得温暖如春，心情大好 。