Punxsutawney Phil — the groundhog who, like the Dalai Lama, is thought to be the incarnation of an ancient, mystical entity — emerged in the Pennsylvania town for which he is named on the morning of the American Imbolc known to natives of the region as Groundhog Day and was seen to notice his shadow, per reports. This signifies to the native populace an extension of winter by six weeks.
The substitution of a robot groundhog for Phil, proposed as a humane alternative by a rival sect, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has apparently not gone off. Judging by the results of local village councils, the speeches of elders such as the Oklahoma Daily (“Replacing rodents with Furbys destroys the pagan beauty of the whole day, making it feel like another synthetic corporate celebration”), seem to have turned the tide in favor of the barbaric traditional rite.
Despite the unfortunate result, in terror of which the native population confine themselves to their huts and heated SUVs for three fortnights, the remainder of the day with be celebrated with feasting and ritual viewings of an old Bill Murray movie.