It has been an annual tradition for close to 150 years, and activists are attempting to modify the holiday and how it will be celebrated in the years to come. 

What other holiday is like this one? I would argue none. 

The annual celebration began back on February 2, 1887 at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Back then, it was a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil who helped predict the weather for the next 6 weeks to come. Since then, there have been several Punxsutawney Phil's over the years, but the world has relied on them all the same: to help predict the weather

Using animals or rodents to help predict the weather dates back to before the tradition began. In fact, Dan Yoder is known as the man who penned the version of Groundhog Day that we have come to know, and Yoder revealed the earliest piece of evidence that proved the people of Punxsutawney used a groundhog to predict the weather actually dates back to 1840, as reported by CNN

If the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. However, if the groundhog does not see his shadow, that means that there will be an early spring. 

Over the years, Punxsutawney Phil has only been accurate about 39% of the time, according to USA Today. There have been other groundhog celebrations in New York state that include a similar routine, including with Buffalo Bert and Dunkirk Dave, but it looks like there is a chance that we may never rely on a groundhog again after 2024. 

PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is an animal rights nonprofit organization, and they are hoping to change the tradition by replacing the groundhog with a giant gold coin. 

According to reports from the Toronto Sun, PETA wrote a letter to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club with a structured plan to retire the groundhog and send it to a sanctuary for retirement. 

PETA also argued that the coin is a better bet at predicting the whether correctly, since the groundhog’s accuracy rate is just under 40%. 

If Punxsutawney Phil does retire, it would change Groundhog Day forever for the years to come, and our local groundhog celebrations in New York would cease to exist…at least, as we knew it for many, many years. 

Would you rather have a coin make the prediction or a groundhog?

According to the official site for the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil is fed and cared for every day, meaning that he does not have to search for food. He is not treated unethically.  

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