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Groundhog Day

February 2, 2013

I first heard the term ‘Groundhog Day’ as one of the recommended movies in IMDB. I made a mental note to watch it someday and moved on. It took me a couple of more years to get to watching it. I loved the movie; stellar performances by Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, interesting storyline with romance sprinkled in; the entire movie had a sweet disposition to it. It goes without saying that I love movies which makes you feel good and leaves you with a smile. Groundhog Day did it all.

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Little did I know that a few months later, I will be blown away when I see ‘Groundhog Day’ popping up in my calendar.  Since my official calendar is synced to US holidays, I was surprised to see ‘GroundHog Day – Today’ written on my phone screen today morning. I was amused. Does the GroundHog Day actually exist? Punxsutawney and Punxsutawney Phil are for real? Wasn’t it all just a fictional story portrayed in a movie?

Well, indeed it is not. GroundHog Day actually exists. It is celebrated on February 2nd every year and the largest celebration happens in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. For the uninitiated, a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hibernation on February 2nd every year and predicts whether we will have an early spring or we will suffer six more weeks of winter. If the today is cloudy, there is a chance of a early spring. But if today is sunny; when Phil emerges from his burrow and sees his shadow, he will retreat to the burrow. Then we will have six more weeks of winter. Phil is said to be predicting the weather correctly for the last 127 years of his existence and he drinks a special elixir that’s kept him alive and kicking all these years by adding seven years to his life after taking a sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic. With its origins on German folklore, Groundhog Day is quite a celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This year you can even catch the live streaming here.

Ha ! Even in this age of high tech weather forecast equipments which predicts weather several days/months/years in advance, it is quite interesting to see this tradition kept alive by the Punxsutawney community. Groundhog Day reiterates the fact that no more how ancient or ‘illogical’ some traditions may seem; it is an interesting way for the community to get together, meet the family or old friends and have a break from your daily routine. Traditions also serve as a magical window to your childhood when you actually believed in whatever Punxsutawney Phil (or an equivalent creature/moment/day) said or did. Traditions are a way to relive those days of innocence and the memories it brought along.

What is your Groundhog Day? Oh by the way, if you haven’t watched the movie yet, do it. It is quite a good one.

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