No shadow today for Punxsutawney Phil.  That means spring will arrive early, or so his handler, Bob Roberts, claims.  Of course they both have tradition and folklore on their side.

The celebrity groundhog emerged from his burrow at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania this morning.  And while he saw thousands of fans and onlookers eager to be the first witnesses to his prognostication, what Phil did not see was his own shadow.

Roberts announced, "And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see. An early spring for you and me."

 

Alex Wong, Getty Images

If you do not take this stuff seriously there are many who do.  Phil has his own newsletter and Punxsutawney prides itself as being Phil's hometown.  It turns out that folklore can be profitable.  There is plenty of Groundhog Day merchandise for sale on Phil's site as well.

Groundhog Day has been around in the United States since at least 1886.  Earlier versions of the day began with observance of Candlemas and related traditions, including one that included the appearance of a hedgehog who could make the forecast for spring.