Season-Predicting Mammals? More, Please

It’s Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, and because Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of winter. Powerful stuff, huh?

I’ve come to appreciate Groundhog Day because it’s not religious, not terribly profitable, doesn’t require a costume, and, simply, it’s awesome.

Most of the holidays we Americans celebrate are either rooted in Christianity, patriotism or capitalism. We need something as silly and obscure as Groundhog Day to remind us sometimes all you need is a lovable mammal, a stupid proposition and a reason for people to drink in the early hours of a weekday.

(Although I should say alcohol is no longer allowed at Gobbler’s Knob, the site of the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Penn. This begs the question, where can one drink if not at a place called ‘Gobbler’s Knob’?)

I’m all for more serious holidays to commemorate leaders and influential figures in U.S. history. I’d say religious holidays — more specifically, the non-Christian kind — are vastly overlooked. Valentine’s Day and Halloween have their place, don’t get me wrong. St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo are swell, but I feel awkward celebrating a country and heritage that’s not in my lineage.

What I mean to say is we need a few more holidays based on folklore or legend. And animals. And propositions. There needs to be an outcome or result, and I don’t mean a hangover. Today, we know winter will last another six weeks, for a groundhog has told us so. With all the technology and overzealous weathermen at our disposal, it’s fun putting our trust in a rodent.

We could do worse.

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