Ready for Spring but Superstitious about Groundhog Day


Photo by Alfred Stieglitz, New York. January 1902. (LOC)


I’m ready for spring–and I’m superstitious about Groundhog Day. As much as I would like to dismiss it as a silly tradition, I can’t help but feel the groundhog knows something we don’t.

The Baltimore Sun summed up Groundhog Day back in 1900:

“It is said that the groundhog emerges from the hole where he hibernates on February 2 of each year and looks for the sun. If that luminary is shining brightly enough to cause the groundhog to cast a shadow he returns to his winter quarters, convinced that gentle spring is far off and that the weather will be atrocious for six weeks. But should the sky be overcast and no shadow appear the groundhog reasons that as the weather is bad it is likely to mend, so he stays out and waits for spring.”

Western Advocate (Mankato, KS) Feb 2, 1900.


Punxsutawney Phil, who holds so much power in his paws, has a patriotic duty to predict spring is on the way. But no, he saw his shadow this morning and predicted six more weeks of winter. In that instant, he ceased to be a fuzzy little animal and became a pernicious rodent gnawing on my dreams of warm weather and sunshine. says Phil has only a 40% accuracy rate, and this offers some hope. If Spring arrives early, I may forgive Phil but he’s on probation until next year when he better deliver positive news.

Punxsutawney Phil

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