This morning Punxsy Phil (as he is apparently affectionately known) poked his head out into the ridiculously terrible weather to declare that winter is coming to an end! With no shadow in sight, legend has it we will be treated to an early spring. You can see video coverage here.
And keep reading! There’s a conspiracy buried in here.
The announcement is hopeful, but completely incongruous with weather across the country. As Brown students wade through ankle-deep freezing slush to get to classes (that are really just never cancelled; RISD’s closed—what gives? anyway…), huge swaths of the country are suffering right along with us.
Pre-Super Bowl festivities are taking a hit in Dallas, where temperatures have been in the teens and 20s since Tuesday, with airports closed and roads coated with ice. Meanwhile Chicago saw the third-biggest winter storm since recording began in 1886 — 20.2 inches of snow. More than half the country is still trying to dig out from an unusually bad winter, and although this might be the most adorable cold-weather picture ever, we just want it to stop.
But as the WashPo warns, Phil is only right 39% of the time, so I wouldn’t hold your breath for spring. Turns out, it’s all a big conspiracy. National Geographic explains, the tradition of February 2 is an amalgamation of Christian and Roman practices, blended together in Germany. Ancient Romans believed the first few days of February could predict the weather trend for the coming months, but they relied on hedgehogs as their official Miss Cleos. But the tradition changed in America when German settlers failed to find any hedgehogs, so they just moved on to another small -hog variety. We’re getting inaccurate predictions and wasting our Pepperidge Farm products on the wrong species!
Who knows when this hellish winter will ever end, but it doesn’t look like it’s any time soon.