Pennsylvania & ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ Groundhog Fans: PETA Is Coming
Oscar Wilde was a famous proponent of the concept of “Life Imitating Art.”
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.
“Punxsutawney Phil,” The Famous Groundhog dates back to 1887.
Every year, on February 2nd, there is a well publicized event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, whereby if “Phil” does or doesn’t see his shadow … there will or won’t be 6 more weeks of winter. More about that later.
It’s fun and an enduring tradition which has lasted for more than 136 years.
And, like everything else in today’s “Woke America,” this tradition could end if The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals gets its way.
Here is PETA's letter (from January 30, 2022), which in part reads:
As you know, Phil is certainly not a real meteorologist and didn’t volunteer for this job. For far too long, he’s been dragged out of a fake tree stump and subjected to noise, flashing lights, and crowds, against all of his natural instincts.
A dystopian America seems to be coming true with each passing day.
Yes, politics has crept into every imaginable aspect of American life … even regarding a timeless, ageless groundhog.
The PETA organization is suggesting that “Punxsutawney Phil” be retired and that instead, they should plant persimmon trees to predict the weather.
Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog Club President Jeff Lundy has often emphasized how well taken care of Phil is, saying that he’s “treated like The King” of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
In the photo above, Punxsutawney Phil official handler, AJ Dereume holds Phil after he did not see his shadow in 2019.
As folklore has it, when Phil does not see his shadow, it means an early Spring will occur.
Groundhog Day is a popular tradition in the United States and Canada.
About 30,000 or more people attend each year.
There are wonderful evening events that take place the night before as everyone awaits sunrise and then they head to Gobbler’s Knob to witness Punxsutawney Phil exit from his winter den.
It’s simple. If Phil sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of bad weather.
An early spring will arrive if Phil does not see his shadow.
There are many great traditions that have existed in America for 100 plus years and more. In this case, this February 2nd will mark 137 years for Phil.
My vote is to just leave Punxsutawney Phil alone.
PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL FUN FACTS
- Phil’s longest stretch of seeing his shadow is 21 consecutive years, which came between 1913 and 1933.
- His longest streak of not seeing his shadow is only two years between 2019 and 2020.
- The only time Phil did not appear was in 1943, during World War II.
- Phil's first official shadow sighting came in 1887, although for unknown reasons, it was followed by several years where no official recordings were taken.
- There is an official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
- This club has an Inner Circle, consisting of 15 members who are charged with protecting and perpetuating the legend of Punxsutawney Phil.
- Finally, Punxsutawney Phil usually gets it wrong. In 136 years, he’s been right only 39 percent of the time.
This Wednesday, Punxsutawney Phil will venture out and do his “job.” After all of the snow that we’ve had, here’s to hoping that Phil does not see his shadow.
An early Spring is just what we all need.
SOURCES: Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog Club & People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
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