Groundhog Day: America's Most Moronic Holiday

Four reasons Americans should resist the celebration of Groundhog Day.

Screenshot of the movie 'Groundhog Day' via Youtube
Screenshot of the movie 'Groundhog Day' via Youtube

“Mommy! Groundhog Day is soon! I’m so excited—are you?!”

Cue: Mommy moan.

It happened. My gullible little daughter thinks Groundhog Day is a real holiday to get pumped about. I was hoping this moment would never come, although deep down I knew it was inevitable. Every year, it seems like the groundhog hype-o-meter creeps ever upward.

We didn’t stand much of a chance as this is the same kid who, remembering her father’s Jewish roots, begged to celebrate Yom Kippur (until I explained about the fasting and whatnot).

It’s true, Sunday, February 2 is Groundhog Day. (I think there might be some sort of sporting event happening in the swamplands of Jersey that day, too.) Pampered rodent Punxsutawney Phil (and other imposter groundhogs) is due emerge from ‘hibernation’ and, should he cast a shadow, sentence us to six more weeks of winter.

I admit to being susceptible to superstition (damn you ‘Drugstore Cowboy’ for giving me the fear of a hat on a bed!), and I want nothing less than six more weeks of this winter, but I can’t get behind Groundhog Day.  Here’s why:

1) He’s usually incorrect: Groundhogs have a pretty dismal record of predicting the weather. Calculations show they’ve gotten it wrong nine times in the last 13 years.

2) PETA has a point: Leather shoes are great and I very much enjoy an occasional cheeseburger, but the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have a point about poor Phil’s treatment. He’s “forced to be on display year round at the local library and is denied the ability to prepare for and enter yearly hibernation.... Add to that the displeasure of large, screaming crowds, flashing lights of cameras, and human handling." Human handling—ewwww!

3) The pageantry stinks: I’ve got nothing against a good theme, but something about the top hats and mustachios of the groundhog handlers rubs me the wrong way. I’d rather scratch an anachronistic itch with a dinner at  Medieval Times.

4) It’s just sort of dumb: Whether or not the groundhog has a shadow, Spring will begin this year with the vernal equinox on March 20.

With the sizable exception of the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ starring Bill Murray, and perhaps this ‘Onion article,’ the tradition has inspired few thrills. It’s a good bet this year won’t be any different.

Do you look forward to Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction every Groundhog Day? Tell us in the comments or in a blog post.


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