I’ve really been trying hard to decide if I should tell you this or not… but I’ve decided to go ahead with it.
Sit down… if you aren’t already.
Okay… here it goes.
Punxsutawney Phil is a Phake.
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter nappy-time, to seek out his shadow.
According to the Legend…… If he sees that darn shadow of his…. he regards it as an indication that we all will have six more weeks of bad weather….. so he heads back for the hole. If the day is cloudy and…. therefore produces no shadow on the ground…. that smarty-pants takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
But here is the thing…… It is a hoax. Hoaxy-Poksey-Wokesey.
It started ‘loosely’ as a German Tradition in Pennsylvania….sometime during the 18th century. Those early Germans had a TON of traditions. It just so happens that one of those traditoins was drinking…. A LOT. Especially in February when there wasn’t much else to do.
So one day, old German Johann Friedrickson, of Little Paw, Pennsylvania…. was pretty hooched up. Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer…. gone from the wall. He fell on the ice, hit his head, and laid in the snow for about 28 minutes. At that point, a Ground Hog popped out of his hole and peered out to see what the heck made that big thud.
Falling in and out of consciousness… Johann lifted his head and saw the ground hog. The little fella’ gave a tiny wave to old Johann, and popped back down the hole. He was freezing his little Groundhog Butt out there…. for crying out loud. So yes… right back down the hole.
Mr. Friedrickson eventually got up and was okay…. hungover. But okay.
At any rate….. that February went on to be the worst winter month EVER. SO BAD…. in fact, that it lasted for the next six weeks or so.
Johann saw this as a sign. A sign to make some silver. The next year, he told all his friends of the Wonder Hog… which he called Paw. He sold tickets to the event, set up beer stands and pretzel booths, invited Ye’ Old CNN…. and the tradition was born.
Wonder Hog Paw was soon called Punxsutawney Phil… as “Little Paw, PA” became “Punxsutawney, PA” the following year.
Since that time… Punxsutawney Phil has had a paltry 39% success rate of “predicting” when Spring will roll into town.
Today…. we have many hucksters who followed suit. All across the U.S….. people have conjured up variations of the original legend. In Brookfield, IL… we have Tumbleweed. Sir Walter Wally lives in Raleigh, NC. Chuckles hails from Manchester, CT. And even Ohio chimes in with Buckeye Chuck.
Why do people put so much weight into this Cultural Folklore?
Because we all like to believe in magic. Admit or not…. we like crazy ducks in sailor suits, and rabbits who play tricks on hunters.
So I say to all of you who love this and Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Tinkerbell…..
Rock on Punx. Rock on.