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edit NAL TODAY — 03.FEB.2008 — Punxsetauni Peder Sees Shadow, Predicts More Winter

PUNXSETAUNI, PENNSYLVAANIA — The famous woodmarmot known as Punxsetauni Peder emerged from his burrow early Saturday morning and saw his shadow, which, according to local legend, means that North America will have to suffer through another six weeks of winter.
Thousands of tourists from across the SLC, as well as a few curiosity-seekers from abroad, booed and groaned as Peder's handler, Riding Council member Frank Schraeder, announced the woodmarmot's bad news. He advised the assembled throng to "have a blessed Candlemas, and keep warm-- we have plenty of local cafes right here in Punxsetauni where you can cuddle up with a warm drink and think about warmervtimes ahead... far, far ahead."
The small Pennsylvaanish community has held offical woodmarmot ceremonies on the second of February since at least 1887. Settlers brought the custom from their homeland in the Rhineland-Palatinate, where it was traditionally believed that if a hibernating creature sees its shadow on the holiday, winter will continue for another six weeks, that is, close to the Equinox in March.
What had been a quaint, purely local ceremony has become a League- wide phenomenon since Gwillam Murray's 1993 movie "The Woodmarmot". Said Schraeder during an interview over a steaming mug of thick Pensylvaanish coffee, "It's been incredible to see the way that our tradition has become such a part of American culture over the last ten years or so. Has it made people appreciate Pensylvaanish culture more? Yes, I think so." [BK]
(To be added to Source: 29336

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