Groundhog Day

Sydney Merrill

Groundhog Day is an annual superstitious event which supposedly determines if the transition from winter to spring will be delayed or come early.

The day originates from an old German Christian tradition called Candlemans Day where candles and hedgehogs foretold the length and temperature of the upcoming winter. Once Germans settled in America, they chose the more plentiful groundhog as the representative.

Groundhogs Day has officially been held on February 2nd since 1887 in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. This year, a relatively large crowd came to see “Punxsutawney Phil”, the most well know groundhog. They waited to learn whether the animal saw his own shadow, and were not disappointed by his appearance. Phil was said to be in an unusually grumpy mood, but once he calmed down, he saw his own shadow, which signifies six more weeks of winter.

Jeff Swensen
Punxsutawney Phil (groundhog) pictured on Groundhog’s Day.

Handlers had to use gloves and pry Phil out of his hiding spot, as he was likely frightened by the chanting from the crowd. He fought and struggled, and eventually hid again after officials determined Phil had seen his shadow.

Across the country, the groundhogs did not reach a consensus. Staten Island Chuck, New York City’s groundhog, did not agree with Punxsutawney Phil; Chuck declared there will be a seasonable spring, but after all, they are only groundhogs.

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