Spring is near! Or, what does Phil know?

Happy Groundhog Day! This is the odd holiday when we all turn to an animal called Punxsutawney Phil (or other groundhogs in other areas) for his prediction about the weather. Phil’s method? He’ll come out in front of a crowd of people and either see his own shadow — or not. Yep, it’s as simple as that to understand the seasons, folks!  🙂

Here’s the forecast for 2011: Spring is apparently upon us, which I imagine is good news for my friends stuck in blizzards with the power out right now.

How accurate is Phil? Well, there’s a bit of debate about that. This news report puts his accuracy rate somewhere in the high 30-percentile. But he’s awfully cute, so surely that counts for something.

Groundhog Day, like many holidays, actually has much older origins that have more to do with sunlight and surviving the cold than with photographing a furry animal.

Still, I think it’s great to hang on to traditions that are purely fun, long after the practical importance of their origins has faded. Events like Phil seeking his shadow give us a break from reality and remind us that sometimes it’s worthwhile just to smile and have a good time — especially when everyone’s feeling cold and miserable. And when the groundhog brings us good news, even better.

So, thanks, Phil!  🙂  And happy early spring, everyone!

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