For those of you that are unaware, Groundhog Day occurred just last week on Tuesday, February 2nd. For those that also do not know, the infamous Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, thus predicting an early spring for a record 18th time -- a feat to be celebrated, given that Phil has been making his predictions for nearly 130 years. Check out the full ceremony:
And yet, this monumental occasion went severely unnoticed, as it does year after year. Perhaps you are one of the many that focus too harshly on Phil’s 39 percent accuracy, find it ridiculous that the event even exists, or has not been fortunate enough to be raised by those that find true celebration in our most underrated holiday. But, for some of us, Groundhog Day holds a special meaning. Perhaps it's because we find the country’s best known rodent extremely adorable, or appreciate the day’s traditional roots, or have made it a personal mission to transform all nonbelievers. Or, perhaps we celebrate Groundhog Day purely because we recognize that the whimsicalness and lightheartedness behind the day are exactly what we need more of in life. Regardless of your questionable reasoning for finding it inspiring or despising, here are nine things that would happen if Groundhog Day was celebrated like all our other major holidays:
1. We would all, at some point in life, dream of becoming a member of the Inner Circle.
Forget becoming an astronaut, President of the United States, a princess when you can one day don the dapper tuxedo and top hat worn by all 15 members of the Inner Circle. By the age of six, we’d be scheming about how to become one of these well-dressed men responsible for preserving and protecting the legend of Punxsutawney Phil. Maybe, if we’re feeling ambitious enough, we would wish to become one of Phil’s two appointed handlers. Of course, we would first have to become fluent in “Groundhogese,” the language known only by Phil (duh) and the President of the Inner Circle in order to communicate Phil’s exact prediction, and alter some of the current qualifications for infiltrating the Inner Circle -- now consisting of being male, being invited, and being a member of the Punxsutawney community (yes, it's a real place). Tide your kids over with a leftover Abe Lincoln costume when the real ones sell out come Halloween.
2. Groundhog Day decorations would compete with Valentine’s Day décor.
Christmas nearly just ended and they’ve already put out the Groundhog Day decorations?! It would be quite the abrupt switch from faux-leather top hats and chocolate-molded-hollow groundhogs to red white pink glittery heart-shaped cutouts and sweethearts. Just think of all the phunny Phil puns that would be on all the cards.
3. We would have a newfound admiration of the world’s most intelligent and sensible mammal.
According to legend, the groundhog was chosen as the world’s only nonhuman meteorologist by the early German settlers that brought the holiday to America in the mid-nineteenth century. Not only is the groundhog unarguably adorable, but also extremely wise -- it knows when to wake from its deep winter slumber to search for a mate (conveniently around the well-known February 2nd date) and when to return to its underground chamber, should winter be prolonged. We would all be filing for licenses to adopt these beloved furry creatures (Phil’s current handler, Ron Ploucha, is licensed through the US Department of Agriculture to rescue wild groundhogs that have been orphaned, often to become Phil’s cousins).
4. We would be fluent in the history of Groundhog Day.
We would all know that the very first Groundhog Day occurred in 1887 in Gobbler’s Knob, and has ties to the ancient Christian tradition Candlemas Day, a day where clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. Germans then expanded on this concept instead choosing an animal to indicate the length of the impending weather (originally a hedgehog, but groundhogs were more abundant in their newfound land of Pennsylvania).
5. We would greatly respect Punxsutawney Phil and undoubtedly trust his instincts.
We would look passed Phil’s alleged inaccuracies, and realize that he is non-location specific for a reason: it's always winter longer in one area of the country than another, therefore Phil is 100 percent correct 100 percent of the time. Phil doesn’t make the weather; he merely senses what is to come. Plus, if his prediction proves incorrect, it is the Inner Circle President’s fault for misinterpreting Phil’s clear signals. Another spot in the Inner Circle just opened up! We would understand Phil’s rare bouts of fussiness -- it's incredibly stressful being in the public eye all your life, and let’s not forget that Phil has just reached his 130th birthday (due to his special “Magic Elixir”) and has reason to be a bit grouchy (you wouldn’t want bright lights and clicking cameras shoved in your face the moment you wake up after months of peaceful sleep, either). Lets not forget Phil’s little fit during the era of prohibition, when he threatened 60 more weeks of winter if he didn’t get a drink. Bring the elixir! And, above all, we would address Phil by his full and well-deserved title: Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary. Don’t even bring up Milltown Mel or Staten Island Chuck… Impostors!
6. You think Super Bowl Sunday brings out the gambler in all of us? Just imagine the arguments leading up to the start of February.
There has got to be some sort of formula to this… well, probability-wise he’s more likely to see his shadow, but then again, he saw it last year… I’m going all in on an early spring! The pools are insane.
7. Gobbler’s Knob would be the go-to vacation destination.
Disney World may have people dressed up as famous rodents, but Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney PA has a real live one! The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club puts on a festival spanning three days, with day-of festivities beginning as early as 3 A.M. You can even have your little one crowned “Little Mr. or Miss Groundhog.” Tens of thousands of people have the right idea already -- the attendance even once reached over 30,000 (expectedly following the release of "Groundhog Day" in 1993). Be sure to book your hotel early!
8. We would all openly recognize February 2nd as a holiday without the slightest hint of sarcasm or laughter.
I’m talking to you, "Today Show" -- I’m sick of the snide remarks questioning how Phil could not have seen his shadow because of all the bright lights surrounding him, or the several times you tease the live broadcast of Gobbler’s Knob, only to show the anticipated announcement for less than three minutes.
9. We would all give Phil’s “Magic Elixir” a try.
This one goes without saying. It's kept Phil young for 130 years, though allegedly works the reverse on humans according to most of the Inner Circle. Challenge accepted.