Every Feb. 2, the country huddles around screens and waits patiently for Punxsutawney Phil to come out from hiding and declare to the world if spring is near or if winter is sticking around.

It’s an odd tradition that has been observed since the 1800s, and its origin is even weirder than you may think.

“Did you know they used to eat the groundhog?” my Fun 107 morning show cohost Michael Rock asked Friday morning as Punxsutawney Phil declared six more weeks of winter.

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While morning show producer Gazelle was intrigued, I was mortified and needed to do some fact-checking.

It turns out, Michael’s outlandish statement is correct.

CNN reported how Pennsylvania historian Christopher Davis shared that people cooked the groundhog as a “special local dish” served at the Punxsutawney Elk Lodge, whose members would go on to create the town’s Groundhog Club.

While Davis shared how people were “pleased” with how tender the meat was, that tradition eventually fizzled, but after all these years, Americans still rely on good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow.

I remember Phil making his way into my elementary school curriculum. Learning about this groundhog and his important job managed to wiggle its way into the learning plans of elementary school teachers. Try explaining that one to a different country.

I think it’s safe to say that Groundhog Day is more of a beloved tradition rather than a fact, but every year, we all cross our fingers that spring is near.

For 2023, Phil declared six more weeks of winter, and the SouthCoast had a few choice words for him.

'Oversized Gerbil': SouthCoast Reacts to Six More Weeks of Winter

Punxsutawney Phil has spoken. We have six more weeks of winter ahead of us, and from the looks of it, the SouthCoast is less than thrilled.

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