PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. -- Punxsutawney Phil has declared his forecast for Groundhog Day 2024.

Friday morning, the esteemed groundhog failed to spot his shadow, indicating an early spring ahead.

This occasion marks the 21st instance in the 138-year-old tradition where Phil has not sighted his shadow.

All eyes turned to Gobbler's Knob in western Pennsylvania early Friday morning as handlers of Punxsutawney Phil revealed whether he spotted his shadow, signaling either six more weeks of winter or an early spring.

Thousands assembled to partake in the yearly gathering, which surged in popularity following the 1993 Bill Murray film, "Groundhog Day."

It's a custom steeped in European agricultural heritage, symbolizing the halfway point between the shortest day of the year during the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

This period also holds significance in the Celtic calendar and coincides with the Christian observance of Candlemas.

In eastern and central Pennsylvania, where individuals of German ancestry have observed the groundhog's yearly emergence from hibernation for generations, there exists a tradition of groundhog clubs and festivities that operate independently of Phil.

Some disregard the Punxsutawney event as an inferior counterpart to their own celebrations, claiming that their rituals provide more precise weather forecasts.

Weather-predicting groundhogs have emerged in at least 28 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, with less formal festivities spanning far and wide.