Is Groundhog Day Legit?

By: Sophia Volpe

This past February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, but do you think this means six more weeks of winter? Groundhog Day is a widely known tradition featuring Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog. Every February 2nd since 1887, people around the world have gathered around the television or experienced in-person rodent meteorology. 

Groundhog Day traditions originated from German immigrants who had pre-Christian beliefs, and it slowly transitioned into whether an animal saw his shadow or not when coming out of hibernation. Today the event takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The event includes thousands of spectators and is presided over by the “Inner Circle”. 

The self-appointed “Inner Circle” is said to speak the language of the groundhog which is known as “Groundhogese” to Phil on February 2nd. They also wear top hats while conducting their official business. When not talking to Punxsutawney Phil in Grounghogese, the dignitaries speak in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect.

This is a fun tradition, but how accurate are Phil’s meteorology skills? Phil’s success rate is just around 50 percent, according to studies conducted by the National Climatic Data Center while working with the Canadian weather service. However, when asking students at Apex High School how they felt about Phil’s weather predictions, only three out of the ten students I asked said they believed his predictions. 

Whether or not you are a Punxsutawney Phil supporter, or you think it is just silly superstition, the tradition of Phil seeing, or not seeing, his shadow will most likely be continued for decades to come. 

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