On a chilly Friday morning atop Mount Penn, Reading’s Patty Pagoda emerged from the historic Pagoda to deliver her annual Groundhog Day proclamation. This marked the 19th year of the tradition, drawing residents, community leaders, and the media to the landmark.
Before Patty’s prediction, Mike Reinert, representing the nonprofit Pagoda/Skyline Inc., provided a brief history of Groundhog Day to the gathered audience. According to Reinert, “February 2nd is Candlemas Day, the midpoint of Winter. It all started hundreds of years ago when people would bring their candles to Church for clergy to bless them to last for the rest of winter.”
He continued, “Then in 1887, Pennsylvania Germans began noticing that the weather conditions on Candlemas Day foretold the rest of the winter. Somehow, they started observing Groundhog behavior to forecast the weather.”
Despite the cold temperatures, a small crowd braved the weather to enjoy the event held at sunrise.
Patty Pagoda predicted an early start to spring. Pennsylvania’s very own world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring after not seeing his shadow this morning at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney — marking the 21st time Phil has not seen his shadow during the 138-year-old tradition.