Follow us

© 2019 by THE COLONNADE 

GEORGIA COLLEGE & STATE UNIVERSITY

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

Groundhog day

 

With Valentine’s Day presiding as the dominant February holiday, the bizarre holiday just two days into February known as Groundhog Day is often overlooked.  

 

According to a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, if a certain groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day, then it will retreat to its den, and winter will persist for six more weeks, but if it cannot see its shadow then spring will arrive early.  

“[Groundhog Day] really is in line with most major ancient holidays,” said sophomore  Jacob Dallas, a creative writing major. “It’s sort of centered around paganism and the idea that spirits determine the weather.” 

 

The national Groundhog Day celebration is held at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil predicts the weather for Pennsylvania and the entire U.S. population.  

 

Citizens of Punxsutawney have a select group called the Inner Circle, and the group’s president claims to speak the language of groundhogs, “Groundhogese.” Every year the president of the inner circle speaks to Punxsutawney Phil about his prediction, and depending on the shadow sighting, the president will tell the vice president to read one of two scrolls announcing the prediction.  

 

The Atlanta metropolitan area also has a groundhog of its own, who’s named General Beauregard Lee. 

 

The national Groundhog Day celebration is held at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil predicts the weather for Pennsylvania and the entire U.S. population.  

 

Citizens of Punxsutawney have a select group called the Inner Circle, and the group’s president claims to speak the language of groundhogs, “Groundhogese.” Every year the president of the inner circle speaks to Punxsutawney Phil about his prediction, and depending on the shadow sighting, the president will tell the vice president to read one of two scrolls announcing the prediction.  

 

The Atlanta metropolitan area also has a groundhog of its own, who’s named General Beauregard Lee. 

 

General Beauregard Lee resides at the Dauset Trails Nature Center in Jackson, Georgia, and has become a popular addition since moving from Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn, Georgia in early 2018. 

 

“He acts great, has a lot of personality and people like to watch him scurry around the exhibit,” said Gordon Respess, a naturalist at Dauset Trails. 

 

His old website from the Yellow River Game Ranch claims General Beauregard Lee has a 94 percent accuracy rate in predicting the weather.  

 

Despite such claims, General Beauregard Lee has a few notable misses such as his predictions of an early spring before the 1993 “Storm of the Century” and the 2014 “Snowpocalypse.”  

 

In fact, according to the fact-checking website PolitiFact, General Beauregard Lee has only predicted the national weather forecast with 60 percent accuracy and the Atlanta weather forecast with 50 percent accuracy.  

 

These statistics are still impressive compared to Punxsutawney Phil, who has only predicted the national forecast with 30 percent accuracy and the Punxsutawney forecast with 40 percent accuracy.  

 

Diana Young, an associate professor of psychology, points toward a concept called “illusory correlations” to describe the bizarre nature of Groundhog Day. 

 

“Because of coincidence and random odds of certain events happening, in tandem with one another, humans are good at finding links where none really exist,” Young said. “So two things can happen coincidentally together enough times, and because I’m human, I end up saying to myself, ‘These are together for a reason.’” 

 

Even if the events that unfold on Groundhog Day don’t have direct causation with one another, there remains a sense of unity and anticipation that people feel on this holiday. “There is something about the lore of these kinds of traditions that give people a reason to have a common joy,” Young said. “That can be something that brings some positivity in the world.”

 

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload