Weekly Blog February 3rd, 2019: What’s The Deal With Groundhog Day?

Hello Internet!

I hope you all had a wonderful week! Personally I had a pretty good weak full of winter weather and Dungeons and Dragons. The Polar Vortex struck and basically kept everyone inside for a few days. While it was super cold, it did give me plenty of time to hang out inside and do some fun indoor activities. I played three times this past week which is like 300% more than I usually get to play so I was really excited about that. I play a monk who is a young boxer who just punches things in the face. Super fun stuff.

Anyway, this week on the website we finished off January strong with another record breaking month all thanks to all you wonderful viewers. I really appreciate all the love sent my way by viewers old and new. Speaking of which, if you are new, you might have missed out on the pieces that were published this week, so let’s talk about them. Last Sunday, I published a Weekly Blog celebrating the website’s 2nd Birthday /Anniversary /Blogiversary! Late January is the anniversary of when the website went live, so I decided to celebrate it with all of you wonderful people. On Wednesday, I published a Poem titled “Winter Wind” which summarizes this winter weather. Basically its snowy and icy and its better to stay inside than wander out into the cold. On Friday, I published a Writing Prompt piece titled “Intelligent Loss” which is a short story about an advanced Artificial Intelligence that wakes up in a world after humanity has been wiped off the face of the Earth. What is an AI supposed to do without its creators? Well I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s not good. Finally, on Saturday I published the twentieth chapter of my Pokémon Heart Gold/Soul Silver Fanfiction titled Pokémon HGSS#20: Rocket Takeover of Goldenrod Radio Tower Part 2. Team Rocket continues to control The Goldenrod City Radio Tower as they call out to their former boss, Giovanni. It’s up to Jonathan and Beatrice to stop them and liberate the Radio Tower. That’s all the stuff I published this week so if you missed any of these pieces and they peak your interest, give them a look. I promise you won’t regret it. Well…I can’t promise that but I’m pretty sure you might enjoy them…probably…maybe…hopefully.

So I know that today is February 3rd, not February 2nd, but I post Weekly Blogs on Sunday and I wanted to talk about Groundhog Day. Honestly the fact that its 2019 and we still celebrate this holiday is completely baffling to me. I’ll get into the history a little bit in a minute, but I really just want all of us to take a second and really think about this. I think a lot of people just take it for granted how weird Groundhog Day is because “it’s tradition” and “we’ve been doing this forever,” but if you spend even a second thinking about it, it makes no sense  at all. I mean we use a small, ground mammal to predict how long or short winter will be. How does that make sense? Groundhog Day is like the most legitimate of all the stupid Twitter holidays, but it also has the “animal has a magical power to predict something” feature that is usually popular around major sporting events. Like, do you remember when there was an octopus that predicted who was going to win March Madness, but no, instead we just ask this groundhog how long its going to keep snowing. I swear more people believe this groundhog and its predictions than climate scientists about Global Warming. The only good thing about this strange holiday is that it gave us an amazing Bill Murray Movie.

So why in the world do Americans care so much about Punxsutawney Phil and his ability to see his shadow? Well I had to look it up because I didn’t know, but this is what I found.  According to Wikipedia, Groundhog Day and the idea of relying on groundhogs for their knowledge of meteorology is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that “if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early” (Wikipedia). This also has a connection to Germany (where the Pennsylvania Dutch came from) where they rely on badgers to predict the weather.  Groundhog Day as we know it seems to have started around the year 1840, and was popularized with Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in 1886-1887. It started with a whole fan club and traditions which grew and grew and grew. A modern celebration of Groundhog Day brings crowds of 40,000+ people to the Pennsylvania borough to watch Phil see his shadow or not see his shadow. If there is clear weather, and Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, winter will last for at least six more weeks. But if the weather is cloudy, and he doesn’t see his shadow, Spring should come early.

So is it a good idea to trust a groundhog and the superstition that it can predict the future due to seeing its shadow? No, probably not. Punxsutawney Phil and his predictions are a relic from when people relied on The Farmer’s Almanac to predict the weather instead of things like satellites and science. Weather men and women study meteorology and the climate and are still wrong most of the time, so relying on a groundhog with no science background probably won’t work either. According to Live Science, Punxsutawney Phil is right between 36% to 39% of the time depending on how you calculate it. So this groundhog gets it correct a little over a third of a time on a test with one two possible answers: A) More winter and B) Less winter. That’s not really a great reputation of being right. Even the Live Science article mentions that its better to just flip a coin, because that will get you 50/50 odds. So what did we learn today? Well I think we learned a little about history and how strange traditions start and that we probably shouldn’t rely on groundhogs to predict the future. Prepare for a long winter and hope for an early spring. That’s all you can hope for.

Thank you so much for reading this Weekly Blog. Like I mentioned before, January broke our records in terms of both views and visitors, so thank you so much for making that happen. We also had a large influx of Followers at the end of the month, so thanks goes out to all the people reading my stuff and following the website. All of the love really makes my heart fill up with so much joy. When I see viewers from all over the United States and the world read my stuff, it just overwhelms me with happiness, so thank you for that. If you liked this Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a like or leave a comment down below. Tell me what you think of Groundhog Day? Are you a fan of this tradition or do you think the whole thing is stupid? Be respectful, but let me know what you think. Also if you are snowed in and have nothing else to do, spend some time reading the other stuff on the website. You can start with the stuff that got published this past week, which i mentioned up above, or you can just spend some time checking out the website and looking for something to read. There are over 360 pieces on the website so there should be something you’d like to read.

Thank you again for all the support and I hope you have a wonderful week!

-Allen_The_Writer

 


Header Photo Credit to WTAP.com
https://www.wtap.com/content/news/Groundhog-Day-2018-472325943.html

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