By Dominick Pacileo, Staff Writer
Many people are well acquainted with the ancient tradition of Groundhog Day, whether it be from their nostalgic childhoods or the classic film starring Bill Murray. Children from across the world are enamored with the tradition of the groundhog coming out of its hidey hole to see whether winter will drag on or not.
Originally, Groundhog Day was called Imbolc, and was celebrated by the Celts. It was a pagan festival used to ring in the beginning of spring. As time went on, it evolved into Candlemas. Europeans believed that if Candlemas was sunny, there would be 40 more days of winter.
Germans in particular believed that the day would only be sunny if badgers and other small mammals saw their shadows.When Germans immigrated to Pennsylvania later on, they brought the custom with them.
However, there has been an ongoing debate over the holiday in recent years.
Groundhog Day has no major significance in any religion that humanity knows of. It also does not mark any major historical event in any nation’s history. It does not even involve a day off from school or work.
The concept itself has the potential to raise eyebrows among outsiders to the tradition. The concept behind Groundhog Day is that a groundhog comes out of a hole to supposedly determine whether winter will end early or not. It is a superstition that could match the likes of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Some students think that this holiday is peculiar.
“It was probably established to give a sense of hope through winter to the next spring. So it is useful, but still pretty weird,” senior acting major Aubrey Shadle said.
Other students have similar feelings towards the day.
“It’s fun. I don’t believe in it but think it’s a fun way to celebrate and connect with people,” sophomore musical theatre major Abbie Brown said.
Sophomore musical theatre major Kristen Mestre says one of her favorite things about the holiday is knowing if the groundhog sees his shadow.
Students believe that Groundhog Day is not about a groundhog or even a time loop, but instead about giving hope for a flower-filled spring in the midst of a bleak winter. Peculiar as it may be, Groundhog Day is a message of hope to students.