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The Breeze

The online news for the students and staff at Somerset Berkley Regional High School

The Breeze

The online news for the students and staff at Somerset Berkley Regional High School

The Breeze

As a student run newspaper the Breeze expects readers to contact our editorial staff using the comment box below every story for all questions or concerns.
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Punxsutawney Phil Didn’t See His Shadow, But What Does That Mean?

Punxsutawney+Phil+is+raised+in+part+of+2022s+Groundhog+Day+celebrations.+%28Tayfun+Coskun%2FAnadolu+Agency+via+Getty+Images%29
Punxsutawney Phil is raised in part of 2022’s Groundhog Day celebrations. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

On Friday February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, signaling to the world that winter is almost over and we will have an early spring this year. Today, most people treat Groundhog Day as a fun tradition meant to provide a humorous form of entertainment, but why did this tradition start? Why do we raise a groundhog each year and not a rabbit or a cat? Do people really believe a groundhog can predict the weather?

Groundhog Day started off as an ancient European tradition called “Candlemas,” a Christian celebration of the changing season and the Virgin Mary’s arrival to a temple in Jerusalem where she was purified after giving birth to Jesus and presented her son to God. Candlemas was typically celebrated on February 1st and ran into February 2nd, when we now celebrate Groundhog Day. Ancient Germans would celebrate Candlemas by raising the Dach, a badger, and seeing if the badger saw its shadow; if it did, it was thought to go back into hibernation for four weeks, allowing winter to continue.

While Groundhog Day is not particularly seen as a religious holiday today, the tradition is still viewed as a celebration of the near-start of spring. The earliest record of some form of Groundhog Day being celebrated on February 2nd specifically comes from 1840, when Germans raised a groundhog with the belief that “if he sees his shadow he returns in [his quarters] and remains there 40 days.” 

Historians believe that this tradition made its way to the United States sometime between 1727 and 1775, when Dutch immigration to Pennsylvania was booming. Today’s celebrations take place where some of these immigrants may have found home in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The tradition is supported by “Groundhog Lodges,” which are groups designed to maintain the Pennsylvania Dutch language and culture. The Groundhog Day with Punxsutawney Phil that we have all come to know and love is supported by the Elks Lodge. Members of the “Inner Circle” of this lodge gather each year to raise Punxsutawney Phil and predict just how long winter will last. 

Even though most today do not believe Punxsutawney Phil has any special type of special weather forecasting abilities, continuing the tradition of Groundhog Day has proven to be an entertaining and humorous way to hold onto the celebrations of the past.

 

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About the Contributor
Ryan Rose, Editor and Social Media Manager
Ryan is currently in his senior year at Somerset Berkley Regional High School and this is his third year as a member of The Breeze, where he will serve as this year's editor and social media manager. He is also a member of Model UN here at Somerset Berkley. Outside of school, he can often be found either reading a book or practicing the ukulele and piano.  Ryan is also heavily interested in politics and volunteered for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.

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The Breeze encourages this area to be used to foster thought-provoking discussion among all readers and staff. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Breeze does not allow anonymous comments, and The Breeze requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. As a student run newspaper the Breeze expects readers to contact our editorial staff using the comment box below for all questions or concerns. -The Breeze Staff
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    JasmineFeb 7, 2024 at 10:21 AM

    Wow ?

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    EmberFeb 6, 2024 at 11:16 AM

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