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Home / Opinion / This 'n' That / BLAME BAD WINTERS ON THE GROUNDHOG

BLAME BAD WINTERS ON THE GROUNDHOG

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Tired of our on and off winter? Wondering when spring
will finally get here?
Fear no more. In a couple of days, February 2 to be
exact, it will be Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil, the
official American groundhog, will peer out of his burrow,
den, lair or whatever and look for his shadow. If he sees
it, he’ll scoot back inside to sulk for six more weeks of
winter.
The rest of us will cuss him out and brace ourselves for
those same six weeks.
How did we wind up letting a furry critter become our
official weather forecaster?
According to history, German immigrants who settled
in Pennsylvania, brought the groundhog tradition with
them. They were happy to discover the animals all over
the state. Eventually, in 1886 a local newspaper- the
Punxsutawney Spirit – printed news of the first official
observance of the holiday.
Those groundhogs know how to get good publicity.
The rest is history.
Now the official groundhog is known as
Punxsutawney Phil. Each year a local official
ceremoniously lifts Phil out of his underground
home (waking him up from his cozy
nap, no doubt making him cranky). If it’s
sunny, Phil will see his shadow and have a
predictable panic attack, insuring us of six
more weeks of winter weather. This is why
you should let sleeping groundhogs lie.
If Phil is too sleepy to open his eyes, he
won’t notice his shadow and have a meltdown.
And spring will be just around the
corner.
Here’s a noteworthy moment in Phil’s
career. During Prohibition he is alleged to
have threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter
on the community if he was not allowed
a drink.
Who knew groundhogs drink?

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