Punxsutawney Phil adds another six weeks to winter

This years Groundhog’s Day shocks many with the extension of winter.

Photo provided by Canva

This years Groundhog’s Day shocks many with the extension of winter.

Have you ever pondered the tale of the rodent meteorologist who seemingly possesses the power to predict the future of forecasting? Well, guess what? It’s real. 

Groundhog’s Day, an ancient tradition dating back to Feb. 2, 1887, consist of the emergence of the groundhog from its burrow to prophesize the ending of winter and the beginning of spring. 

The root of this bizarre event comes from the Christian tradition of Candlemas, clergies distributing candles to represent how long and cold winter would be. The need for a furry mascot to have input on the weather assumptions started with Germans, using hedgehogs. 

Unlike in the movies, you won’t see a disgruntled weatherman or a self-centered college girl included in the tradition, you will see the addition of groundhogs thanks to the American influence on German ideas.

When asking the students of RCHS, many had different assumptions and insights about this ancient holiday.

“I thought there was one and he was just really old, living for hundreds of years,” said senior, Caira Sefiane. 

Though the original inclusion of groundhogs started in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania with groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, the tradition has spread to other parts of America with many other furry fortunetellers. 

Beyond Phil, we have Dunkirk Dave of Dunkirk, New York, Staten Island Chuck of Staten Island, New York, Sir Walter Wally of Raleigh, North Carolina, Unadilla Bill of Unadilla, Nebraska, and many more. 

Another RCHS student, senior Daphne Silva-Cruz heard of the tragedy that took place in Milltown, New Jersey. Last year, one of the many groundhogs used for the holiday died.

“I thought it died,” said Silva-Cruz. 

Although a common misconception, Phil is not the groundhog she is referring to. 

Not all Groundhog’s Day celebrating cities are as lucky with an immortal being to offer seasonal insight, as Milltown, New Jersey had mourned the loss of their groundhog, Milltown Mel just days before the event in 2022. 

After 10 years of predictions offered by Mel, Milltown was forced to cancel the event for that season since the other groundhog’s were in the hibernating season, leaving noone to replace him until the following Spring. 

However, most accept Phil as the one and only groundhog of the holiday because of his apparent 136 years of rein in weather forecasting, as the “inner circle” of Pennsylvania’s Groundhog’s Day say he’s been the same groundhog since 1887.  

Although groundhogs typically only live six to eight years, Phil has emerged from his burrow yet again this new year to bare witness to his own shadow, solidifying the colder weather for the coming six weeks. 

Though Phil seems to be the most trusted source of weather forecasting, his predictions are only accurate less than 50% of the time, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s own predictions.