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Groundhog Day Brings Spring Prediction

Spring Has Nearly Sprung

Isabella Dawson

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As 2017 met February second, Groundhog day  resulted in Staten Island Chuck seeing his shadow, meaning spring is right around the corner. Since 1886, this folklore tradition has occurred every year. As the tradition goes, if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, spring is right around the corner. If his shadow is apparent, and he goes back into his den, winter will persist for 6 more weeks. The groundhog has seen his shadow 100 times and not seen his shadow 17 times. There was also nine years during the 1800s where his shadow is not recorded.

As students in Florida learn the news on this year’s Groundhog Day results, some agree that news of winter or spring is irrelevant to Floridians. Dani Villardi, sophomore, says, “I know what it is, it just doesn’t affect Florida.” However, in the northern states such as New York, where the tradition takes place, Groundhog day is taken very seriously.

The groundhog is named Punxsutawney Phil. He is approximately 130 years old, and some say he takes a potion every summer called “groundhog punch” that extends his life by seven years. Junior John Golden states “I know what Groundhog Day is, I just feel like no one should believe in it.”

As for meteorological accuracy, the Groundhog Day organizers say the forecasts are accurate 75% to 90% of the time.  However, according to StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil’s weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time.

Similar customs include one celebrated with Orthodox Christians in Serbia on February 15. During the feast of celebration of Sretenje, they believe a bear will awaken from winter dormancy and if it see’s his shadow, it will get scared and go back to sleep, thus prolonging  winter by 40 days. Similarly, in Germany, June 27 is Siebenschläfertag. If it rains that day, supposedly the rest of summer will include rain.

Some incidents that have occurred during Groundhog Day history include a groundhog Chuck drawing blood from a bite at the mayor at the 2009 Staten Island Groundhog Day celebration. A few years later, in 2014, the mayor dropped the groundhog which then resulted in the death of Chuck from several internal injuries.

Groundhog Day traditions spread far and wide, and will continue to be celebrated for many years to come.

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Groundhog Day Brings Spring Prediction