Groundhog Day, a Dying Tradition?

Photograph by Eddie S.

Kafui Sakyi-Addo, Writer

Happy Groundhog Day! On the morning of February 2, 2018, Punxsutawney Phil woke up from his hibernation and saw his shadow, meaning that six more weeks of winter will (supposedly) befall the United States. “I wanted it to be spring!” Chenoa Gentle, a junior, yells after being told the news.

For the last 132 years, we have followed the tradition of a groundhog seeing his shadow to determine how many more weeks of winter will occur, and most people have no idea why we celebrate it.

“Honestly, is there even a point to it? I feel it started off as a fairy tale but now it is a huge event,” one student stated in a survey.

About 30% of students surveyed responded with a simple, “No,” when asked if they understand why we celebrate Groundhog Day. Others understand the meaning, saying that they remember doing crafts based on the holiday in elementary school. One student remembers coloring a picture of a groundhog on Groundhog Day, but that seems to be the extent of celebration. Some students find it strange that we take the predictions of a “rodent” seriously, but most agree that it’s an important tradition that brings people together, even if it’s just bringing them together to laugh at one of the most interesting holidays that Americans celebrate.

“It’s cute and silly, and it’s part of the national consciousness,” one student stated in a survey.

“I personally think that the holiday is false and kind of dumb but it is a part of history in a way, and still cool. Although, I do think it is a little unfair to the groundhog to be taken out every year the way he is,” stated another student.

Interestingly enough, only 59% of students remembered the name of Punxsutawney Phil in a survey, 20.5% thinking that his name was Cacophonous Carl.

“In 600 years, aliens are going to look back on America, and will say, ‘These people used a rodent to determine the length of their seasons,’” Zach Johnson, a junior, said. Despite the mixed feelings about this holiday, it’s likely that this tradition will live on for many more winters.