Bill Murray said in the classic 1993 comedy, “Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again… and that must mean that we’re up here at Gobbler’s Knob waiting for the forecast from the world’s most famous groundhog weatherman, Punxsutawney Phil, who’s just about to tell us how much more winter we can expect.”
Groundhog Day was last week and though we are not able to relive Tuesday Feb. 2 over and over again like Murray in the classic film “Groundhog Day,” we did trust a little furry animal to tell us how much more winter we will have this year. But why is this observance special? Could it be tradition? Is his shadow even accurate? Why is it even celebrated?
Groundhog Day has been around for years, and the tradition of waiting to see whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow continues to become a monumental day during the cold winter months.
Though Groundhog Day is not a public holiday in the United States, there are many people that await the revealing of the furry animal on Feb. 2 hoping the animal predicts what the crowd wants.
The Murray film is based in Punxsutawney, Pa., which is about a four-hour drive from West Chester. In the film, on the morning of Feb. 2, the town of Punxsutawney is packed with camera crews, reporters and excited citizens all with their eyes on Phil the groundhog.
USA Today’s Doyle Rice stated, “Flipping a coin might be as accurate as Phil. Since 1988, the groundhog was right 13 times and wrong 15 times.”
Statements like Rice’s do not stop the celebrations held in Phil’s honor. For the past 130 years, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has hosted a four-day celebration.
This year, people could participate in breakfast with Phil, a groundhog ball, chainsaw carving, groundhog bingo and much more.
The movie “Groundhog Day” has always been a favorite of mine, not because of the holiday, but because it always makes me think about what would happen if I lived the same day over and over.
In a sense, Feb. 2 is the day where we may have to continue living winter over and over for six more weeks.
The whole concept of Groundhog Day is a little silly to me, and the celebrations are a little wacky, but I really love that a town comes together joyfully each year, even if it is just for a little groundhog. Children get excited about this day because they learn about it in school and read cute books about the groundhog. They can watch the celebration either on TV or on the computer.
It’s quite formal because there are men wearing black tuxedos and top hats and a big stage and special box where Phil stays until it is time for his big appearance.
It makes it fun for an otherwise normal February day. The winter can be long, so it’s a nice little tradition to celebrate to while awaiting the spring months.
Aileen Assumma is a second-year student majoring in English literature. She can be reached at AA823823@wcupa.edu.