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Every February 2, the nation’s attention turns to the hamlet of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania as “Phil” the groundhog emerges from his enclosure.  Will he see his shadow (meaning six more weeks of winter), or will he not (meaning an early spring)?  However, this Monday comes the summer version.  Who knew?  Well, this Labor Day your interest should turn to Belfast, Maine.  That’s where “Passy Pete” the lobster will determine if we’re getting six more weeks of summer or an early winter.

Now, there’s no shadow involved with my man, Pete.  Come Monday, he will be pulled from his morning swim in the Belfast Harbor and brought ashore.  It is then that “Passy Pete” has a choice between two scrolls.  One predicts six more weeks of summer.  The other, an early winter.  And after record-breaking temperatures across the country this summer, I think I can speak for all in guessing which one is more desirable.

According to the Belfast Chamber of Commerce website, “The clairvoyant crustacean has come out of pristine Belfast Harbor for the last 7 years and has correctly predicted the continued length of the summer season each time. He communicates the prophecy to a select group of local residents who call themselves the Belfast Barons, using scrolls which are safely preserved in a glass case at the local chamber of commerce during the intervening months, and are brought out each Labor Day. “

In case you were wondering, “Passy Pete” gets his name from the Passagassawakeag (or “Passy”) River flowing into Belfast Bay.  So, move over Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog.  Make way for “Passy Pete” the Maine lobster wo will predict summer’s end/winter’s start on Labor Day in Belfast, Maine.

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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