Groundhog Predictions

Leyden Streed, Staff Writer

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After a freezing start to second semester, it’s a relief to many that Punxsutawney Phil (the face of Groundhog Day) says spring is coming early. Over 120 annual predictions, an early spring has only been predicted 17 times, which makes it a pretty rare event. At Minnetonka High School, Groundhog Day is a holiday most people have heard about, but don’t tend to celebrate.

“I haven’t thought about Groundhog Day in like 20 years,” joked Minnetonka student Karen Rose, ‘19.

Of course, it is a huge celebration in Pennsylvania, where the holiday started. The little town sees as many as 40,000 people come watch every year. There’s even a movie starring Bill Murray that brought attention to the festivities that takes place in Puxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Groundhog Day takes place every year on February 2. It’s a holiday that originated from the Pennsylvania Dutch legend that if the groundhog sees its shadow and retreats into its burrow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t see its shadow due to cloudy skies, spring will come earlier. It’s a fun idea, but is it really accurate, or even necessary?

According to the Stormfax Almanac, Phil the groundhog is estimated to be accurate 39% of the time. It’s also difficult to predict whether Phil is correct, given the flexible definition of spring.

90% of the Minnetonka students surveyed believed it was an unnecessary holiday.

“It isn’t necessary, but it’s fun,” said Peyton Crest and Mia Larson, both ‘21.

“It is completely irrelevant and unnecessary to everyone’s lives, but it adds just a little extra culture to America,” said Jordan Hollings, ‘22.

And that’s really what it comes down to. In the end, it isn’t as much about the accuracy or the relevance, but rather the idea of a tradition being passed down over the years, with the accompanying festivities. Although some students don’t see it as necessary, many still enjoy the idea of the celebration or have fond memories of celebrating it when they were younger.

This year, Phil did not see his shadow, predicting an early end to winter.

 

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