The Absurdity of Groundhog Day

Mason Williams

Art by Ella Jiang.

Every year when February 2nd rolls around, a wretched rodent decides for the United States whether spring is here or if winter will continue for six more weeks. But I don’t need to remind you that, because as Americans we are all too familiar with this “holiday.” Groundhog Day is extremely overhyped, which is the first, and most glaring problem with an already-unnecessary celebration. 

They start us off young with the cutesy arts and crafts of groundhogs, suns and snowflakes. By the time we can read and write we write sentences about how “the groundhog saw his shadow.” And even in middle school the indoctrination of this pointless day continues with live-streaming the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Until I was about 13 years old I thought that the filthy woodchuck was always right. What they never care to share is how the groundhog is more wrong than a coin toss’s probability. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, within the last decade, Punxsutawney Phil has only been correct about 40% of the time. 

My second problem with Groundhog day is that a random hog was chosen as the fraudulent weatherman. Apparently in ancient Europe it was originally a hedgehog that foretold the weather, and had been for most of time, until settlers came to the west and didn’t have any hedgehogs. This notable absence meant that settlers picked up the first ground burrowing rodent they found—the groundhog. If a more respectable animal, such as a bird, more specifically a goose, were chosen, I would feel less hatred towards this day. Geese fly south for the winter so they must have some clue about the seasons.  And can groundhogs fly? No, exactly my point. 

Another frustrating aspect of this day is what the groundhogs are named. Only a brainless individual would name the mascot for a well known day after the city they are from. Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck lack creativity, and the same goes for Dunkirk Dave and Wiarton Willie. I must also point out the lack of diversity in these names. They are all the names of white men. Not only are their names foolish but the same goes for Punxsutawney Phil’s house. It is called Gobbler’s Knob. Yes, Gobbler’s Knob. The immaturity of the people that named this astonishes me. That’s the house of a rodent meteorologist. It should be called something more dignified. 

Above all, there is just no need for this irrational day anymore. You’d think as a technologically advanced country that we wouldn’t be listening to the opinions of a fur ball about the weather. All Groundhog Day has become is a silly and utterly pointless American tradition.