Save us from an everlasting winter, Punxsutawney Phil


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For those who value warmer weather, Punxsutawney Phil holds their world in his hands.

Megan Petzold, Columnist

On Thursday, Feb. 2, Mr. Punxsutawney Phil himself will tell the nation if we will have six more weeks of winter based on if he sees his shadow or not. 

“1886 marked the first time that Groundhog Day appeared in Punxsutawney newspaper, but 1887 was the first time the official trek to Gobbler’s Knob took place,” according to an article from Farmers’ Almanac, “ …members of Phil’s ‘Inner Circle’ claim that he is now way over 100 years old, thanks to a magical life-extending serum they feed him each year — and that his predictions are 100 percent accurate.”

It’s always baffled me that we are listening to a 100-year-old woodchuck to determine if we are going to have an early spring season or a long winter in the name of tradition. Despite the fact that they have given Phil a “life-extending serum” to help him hold his position eternally, it has been discovered that “Punxsutawney Phil has an accuracy rating of about 30%.” 

Phil is losing his touch on prediction — this serum that his “Inner Circle” is giving him might be affecting his previsions.

While Mr. Phil is very cute and I would genuinely like to say that seeing one’s shadow is an accurate way to determine how long spring is going to last, I’ve always had a hard time understanding how this tradition started and why people take Phil’s reaction as law. 

“It’s the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox…it all started in the mid-5th century in Europe,” wrote KXNews in an article explaining the tradition’s origin. “According to the official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, it started as a Christian religious holiday called Candlemas Day. Candles were blessed at the church to bring a joyful second half of winter…the Germans decided to introduce the hedgehog.”

Everyone likes a good party and not many enjoy the frozen obstacles that normally come along with winter, so why not combine tailgating and weather prediction together? 

As we got out and explored the lot, it ended up looking more like a football tailgate,” wrote Justin Gmoser from Business Insider. “As we entered the festival of the rodent, I was amazed at the number of people who had gathered in the cold to cheer on the furry meteorologist.” 

The reporter attended this festival and became one of the people. He explored the mentality of waiting in the cold for Phil and his Inner Circle to come out to determine how long winter may be. 

From his pictures and captions, it sounded like he was enjoying the crowd and the tailgate-like mentality more than he was truly anticipating the weather prediction. 

I believe the tradition has been maintained so strongly because of the community and the uniformity the event brings. There really is nothing like having fun with your community, friends and even tourists. Why not at least go to say you stood in the cold for an hour, possibly multiple hours, to witness a weather-predicting rodent? It isn’t every day that one can say they did that. 

The only question I have left is, what will it be this year, Punxsutawney Phil? Are we destined for eternal winter, or will we be graced with an early spring?