In the United States, we have many, many odd, wonderfully confusing traditions which, to the rest of the world, seem both bizarre and stereotypically American. Gorging ourselves on turkey and stuffing on the 4th Thursday in November to remember our rampant and institutionalized slaughter of the Native American people and to give thanks for all the flat screen TVs we have. Thousands of rednecks gather in a stadium and chug beers to the point of oblivion while watching shiny cars drive in really fast circles over and over again; in the South, NASCAR is a religion. Every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, large (“straight”) Irish and Italian men dress up in exuberant outfits of sequins and feathers and compete in coordinated dances to string music with hand-decorated floats with more sequins and feathers behind them down Broad St. We call them Mummers, and no one questions it.
But perhaps weirdest of all is that society as a whole abandons all previous meteorologic framework on February 2nd, and bases the duration of the winter season on whether or not a groundhog sees its shadow. Take a second to read that again. And not just any groundhog, no no, but rather one particular groundhog-cum-weatherman named Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney Phil is so popular, in fact, that 15,000 idiots get out of bed at dawn to see him. There is even an advertising campaign for the Pennsylvania Lottery that features a groundhog named Gus, “the Second Most Famous Groundhog in Pennsylvania.” It’s really strange.
Every February 2nd, men dressed up like Ebenezer Scrooge gather round some poor groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and hoist him in the air after he emerges from his hole. If he “sees his shadow” the prediction is there will be 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, it means Spring will come early. Apparently, Phil is always right, even though he’s only not seen his shadow 16 times in the past 125 years. No even bats an eyelash. Nevermind that it’s been in the 60s the past week, the enormous squirrel says MORE WINTER.
I COULDN’T MAKE THIS UP IF I TRIED.
So what’s a girl to do? Apparently we’re going to be stuck with winter until the end of March, which means no cute, colorful spring-y clothes. I have so many sleeveless tops I’d love to wear but I don’t radiate enough body heat to pull it off if the temperature is below 90. I saw the headband below at Topshop and fell in love with it (I even tried to include it in my Wear in the World guest post over at Theresa’s blog, but it didn’t work), and it immediately made me think of spring, Phil be damned.
For those of you in warmer climates, just know how grumpy I am that you could pull this off whenever you wanted. Though I have to say, spring or not, I don’t think I’m the kind of girl who could ever pull off this much color without feeling like people were pointing and laughing. What about you?
Oh, and foreign friends, please do not judge me too harshly for being American after this post. I’m just as embarrassed as you are.