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Weekly Wisdom 2-2-2017

Post Date: 
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Weekly Wisdom
~Stephen Sarchet

Punxsutawney Phil was a bold explorer and grand adventurer who led a rough and tumble crew of society’s rejects and cast offs aboard the good ship Earnest up and down the east coast of North America from Halifax to St. Augustine as privateer or pirate depending on the profit to be gained.

Text Box: And so, it is not that tradition is saying stop, or halt or “think no more.” It is not saying, “do not question”, “do not grow” and “do not change.” Rather, it is saying, “remember.” Think, but remember. Question, but remember. Grow and change, but remember. Remember who we are as humans, where we came from and how we can take the knowledge, wisdom and experiences transmitted to us from generations afar to live a life more beautiful - and more meaningful.~Katharine RoseOkay, that’s not really true, but I’ll bet that version of Phil would have some great stories to tell! We know Punxsutawney Phil is a groundhog in Pennsylvania whose been predicting the arrival of spring for over 130 years. The celebration we see today was carried over by German immigrants in the 1770s and has its roots in Candlemas. Originally, the task of predicting spring’s arrival was assigned to the European hedgehog, but the Germans found the groundhog was an intelligent animal who could handle the responsibility and there were a lot of them in the Pennsylvania country side! In 1886 the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper made it official when it printed the first observance of Groundhog Day and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today Phil is a celebrity who draws crowds of as many as 30,000 to the small town in Pennsylvania every year to try to catch a glimpse of him rising from his burrow and the tradition continues. But what really happens every February 2, what really matters is that for a few moments at least, we are all joined in the question of when spring is coming. We’re joined in that question because of tradition. In an article in the Huffington Post, Katharine Rose supposed the reason traditions are important is they call us to remember and grow.

I think it’s also true that our traditions unite us as friends, family, coworkers, and countrymen. Sometimes we don’t even know why we celebrate a particular tradition, which may or not even be all that important in and of itself. We don’t even all observe the same traditions because we don’t share the same history and customs which can separate us if we let it. But as Americans we are and amalgam of histories, cultures, and stories which become uniquely our own larger story and become the fabric of our shared culture.

So the observances of Groundhog Day might be more important to some of us than to others, but the real reason it’s important is that for in those few moments we look to the east to see what a small animal in Pennsylvania predicts, we are united. We are one.

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