Monday, February 2, 2009

My Thoughts on. . . Groundhog Day

So according to the population of North America (well the United States and Canada anyway), today is a holiday. Yes, I am referring to Groundhog Day, when the weather is predicted by none other than a groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil. Tradition states that if he sees his shadow, we're in for another six weeks of winter and if he doesn't, we get off with only four.

Not that I'm opposed to small animals by any means, in fact I mostly find them cute, but I have to wonder--who in the world decided to make a groundhog our official weather predictor?! Why do we have an entire day dedicated to said weather prediction? What does it matter if he sees his shadow or not? If the meteorologists can't tell when winter is going to end, why is it that a groundhog can? And perhaps if he is more accurate, maybe he should replace those inaccurate weather forecasters. . . J/K! The last time I checked the weather was pretty unpredictable, so it's not really the meteorologists' fault if they can't get it right

I just did a little research on this subject and it seems that this "holiday" has roots in ancient European lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear was used as opposed to a groundhog. That would make things much more interesting if it was Badger Day or Bear Day, but wait, Bear Day might have bad connotations, so perhaps we'd better stick with Groundhog Day.

The actual origin of the day remains a mystery, but the holiday bears similarities to both the Catholic holiday of Candlemas and the Celtic holiday of Imbolc, celebrated on Feb. 1, which symbolized a change in season. The Pennsylvanians take this day seriously with festivals, speeches, food, and of course, the ritual emergence of the Phil from his burrow. Crowds even get up to 40,000.

I don't mean to be un-American in saying that I think this is a silly holiday, but I was thinking about it today, and I really kind of do feel that way.

And yet, I still found myself hunting for the news story this morning, to see what Phil had predicted. . .

Here's a link in case you'd like to check it out yourself:

1 comment:

Confuzzled said...

I'm supremely disappointed you didn't call it a USAnadan holiday. *sigh*

Also, I think having a Bear forecasting the winter would be a bad idea. Because, you know, I can't picture a groundhog (or a badger, for that matter) doing too much damage to spectators . . . Just sayin'.