You say groundhog, I say woodchuck. Regardless what name he goes by,
Bill Murray's nemesis in not just one but two films--well, actually the
animal in Caddyshack
was more precisely a gopher--rises from his burrow today in Punxsutawney, PA.
Established originally during a secret ceremony in 1887 and a public media event since
1966, tradition holds that if Phil sees his shadow and retreats in
fear, we can expect another six weeks of winter weather.
The annual awakening (Pennsylvania's is the most well-known, but other
communities and zoos around the country hold similar reveilles) is not
without controversy. Two years ago People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a letter protesting the practice and advocates that a
mechanical animal stand in for the drowsy fellow. The DuPage County Forest Preserve District has stated it also does not condone disturbing animals found in a state of hibernation which can create life-threatening stress.
Coincidentally, February 2nd also portends the arrival of winter quarter
midterm exams. Best of luck to all students reading these words. If you
woke up this morning after a long night of studying and saw your
shadow, it means that spring break is just six weeks away.