Groundhog Day tradition remains strong

As strange as it seems, thousands of people wake up in the early morning hours to wait to see a woodland creature every year. Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., has become the place to be on Feb. 2.

Tommyviola.m.blogs.com
(Tommyviola.m.blogs.com) February holiday history proves fun, entertaining

People from all over the world have flocked to say they have been there when Punxsutawney Phil predicted whether there would be six more weeks of winter.

This year marks the 125th year that Phil will be predicting the weather. Starting officially in 1886, it has come to be known that if the groundhog sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, spring will come six weeks earlier.

According to legend, only one Punxsutawney Phil exists. Legend further says he takes a special elixir of life to keep him alive for this event every year.

He gets to sip it every summer at the Groundhog picnic and it adds seven more years to his life, meaning this weather-friendly groundhog is believed to be an astonishing 125 years old.

Though the holiday seems more like a strange fairytale, pop culture has taken its grasp on this holiday. Phil has met President Ronald Reagan in Washington D.C. and appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” –and who could forget the hit movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, released in 1993.

In 2001, the big prediction was shown on the Times Square Jumbotron in New York City.

However, even with all of this hype sometimes Groundhog Day can slip peoples’ minds. Junior accounting major Amanda Haig is one of those people.

“It’s a cool tradition,” she said. “But I really haven’t thought about it.”      

Though Haig is not alone in this, younger kids get more excited about this holiday than college or high school students.

Amanda Green, a junior accounting major, said her mother is making puppets for her preschool class.

“She is making finger puppets so the kids can stick them on their fingers and then have them ‘pop-out’ of their homemade groundhog den,” she said.

According to Groundhog.org, the official Groundhog Day website, the celebration of Groundhog Day began with the Germans, Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers.

They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May.”

The settlers found that groundhogs were plentiful and were the most intelligent and sensible animal to carry on the legend of Candlemas Day.

So whether you believe in the spirit of the groundhog, it is still a fun holiday tradition to hold onto.  Punxsutawney Phil may not have the technological capabilities of his weather-predicting peers, but his charming methods will continue to delight Americans for years to come.

CAITIE RYAN

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