KATHLEEN LIANG

January 9, 2014

Every year on the second day of February, the annual celebration of a furry rodent is held. It’s time for a groundhog to predict the coming of spring! This special day originated in Pennsylvania in the 18th or 19th century. It was associated with Candlemas, but it now marks the changing of the seasons, more specifically whether spring would come early or late. If the groundhog comes out of his habitat and doesn’t see his/her shadow, spring will come early. If the groundhog does see his shadow, however, spring will come after 6 more weeks of winter.

Groundhog Day is celebrated by more people than you might think. There are festivals and events to mark this occasion. In different parts of Canada, different groundhogs are used. For instance, Shubenacadie Sam, Brandon Bob, Wiarton Willie, and Gary the Groundhog are some of the past predictors for the coming weather. Moreover, there is even an organization for this day. They are called the Groundhog Club. Members wear a top hat during the event, and they are responsible for caring for the groundhog all year around.

In different parts of the country, there are different predictions for the weather. In some cities, it is reported that spring would come quickly, while in others, it is said that it would be a late spring. It all really depends on whether the 2nd of February is going to be a sunny or a cloudy day. After all, the shadow depends on the specific weather forecast of the day.

Some people travel to Punxsutawney, Philadelphia on February 2nd to see the official groundhog. His name is Punxsutawney Phil. He comes out from Gobbler’s Knob to foresee the season change.

The accuracy of the groundhog’s predictions, however, is debatable. Some report that the groundhog is 75-90% accurate, while others say it is 30-40% accurate. So it’s a mystery whether this animal’s predictions should be followed.  Whether or not the groundhog is correct, would you rather have the continuation of winter or the start of spring?