Can you dig Groundhog Day?

While some use resources such as the internet or the weather channel to see what the weather is going to be like for the next few weeks, some people gather around Punxsutawney Phil’s home on February 2nd to see how long we have to wait until spring.

Since 1887, people have trusted the groundhog to let them know when winter ends and spring begins. Groundhogs were the perfect candidate for weather prediction because they have a system set up for themselves every time that they come out of hibernation.  If they come out of their home and see their shadow, they take that as a sign that winter is not over yet, and they go back inside for another six weeks . If they don’t see a shadow, then they assume that spring has sprung and that they can go about their day.

Unfortunately, Phil’s predictions are not usually very accurate. When it comes down to it, he is only right about 36 percent of the time. In all of his years as the groundhog’s day mascot, he has declared 99 forecasts of more winter and 6 forecasts of early spring not counting the several years in which his predictions went unrecorded.

Nevertheless, people from all over the country visit him on February 2nd to see whether or not he sees his shadow.  In fact, over  11,000 people traveled to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to see the groundhog venture out  of his home.

This year, the Groundhog Day festivities lasted from January 31st to February 2nd.

Throughout the festival, activities such as visiting vendors in the park, admiring the wooden groundhogs that were decorated by several local artists, and watching Mr. Randy Rupert carve beautiful structures out of logs were available to the public from 8 am to 8 pm.  When the celebrators were not participating in those activities, they had the opportunity to follow the hourly schedule that allowed them to participate in painting contests, scavenger hunts, beauty pageants, and art shows. Then, at the end of each day, fireworks were shot into the sky to try to “wake Phil up”.

Those who do not have the money or time to travel to Punxsutawney to celebrate Phil’s  weather predictions simply get together at home to relish in the results of them.  Junior, Nick Painter, is a perfect example of this.  Nick says that his family “barbeques for it every year because it is a big deal.”

Although thousands of people celebrate Groundhog Day wholeheartedly, some people do not even acknowledge the holiday.

For example, sophomore Allison Thomas refuses to celebrate the holiday because she believes that, “There is no reason to celebrate a rodent coming out of a hole.”

Similarly to Allison, sophomore, Nicole Pomeroy, says that she does not really celebrate it “because it is not a very reliable judgment of whether we will have six weeks of winter. When it comes down to it, it is just a groundhog.”

So, although not everyone thoroughly enjoys Groundhog Day, many people throughout the United States celebrate it yearly. Groundhog Day has been a part of our culture since 1887, and many people do not expect it to leave our culture anytime soon.

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