Old traditions accompany a new season


On February 2, 2021, a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil came out of his burrow as an annual tradition. This year, he saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter instead of an early spring. This ambiguous tradition has been observed for more than 100 years, yet the majority of Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions were for a longer winter. Out of the number of times he has not seen his shadow and predicted an early spring, Phil has only been correct a few times, with a 39% rate of accuracy. This rather low percentage of accuracy is likely the reason many are skeptical of the groundhog’s reliability. Sixth grader Madeline Burkey stated, “It’s an animal, so it can’t really tell what season it is.”

This is just one of many traditions that take place this time of year. Along with Groundhog Day, Americans participate in daylight saving time. In 2021, the clocks were moved an hour ahead on March 14. The purpose of this event is to extend daylight time, hence its name. Originally, the people who opposed this were farmers because their harvesting schedules were disturbed. Today, some American citizens dislike daylight savings for reasons also related to schedule. Edison Intermediate School (EIS) Principal Dr. Matthew Bolton commented, “I’m a really early morning person, so turning clocks forward an hour messes up my sleep schedule for a few days.”

Still, even those that are impacted by this event see the reasoning behind it. “I feel that I lose sleep during daylight savings. Even though I am affected, other people may feel differently. It can help people know what time it is,” noted Madeline.

Internationally, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 every year to recognize the introduction of Christianity to Ireland by the namesake of the holiday, Saint Patrick. Although the roots of this holiday are religious, most Americans celebrate this holiday non-religiously. However, many traditions have continued from the origin of this holiday. Dr. Bolton explained, “One tradition I have is that my mom always drops off an Irish soda bread, so I always text her to ask when it is coming.”

While some individuals celebrate by wearing green and emulating Irish culture, others do not celebrate at all. “I didn’t even know it was St. Patrick’s day until it was nighttime. I didn’t remember to wear green,” seventh grader Sofia Droskoski admitted.

Roughly two and a half weeks after St. Patrick’s day, a much more religiously celebrated holiday takes place: Easter. As time progressed, similar to St. Patrick’s Day, this holiday became increasingly commercialized. Major companies and brands take advantage of holidays like Easter, and use them for marketing their products. These products attract kids and customers that annually celebrate Easter and want to make Easter feel special. The divide between the religious and secular festivities of this holiday is much more severe and widely observed. Madeline claimed, “I don’t go to Church for Easter. I don’t celebrate it religiously.”

There are popular ways of celebrating Easter in both religious and non-religious ways. Sofia described, “My grandparents come over, but we don’t usually do anything special. Sometimes we go to Mass together. If I’m with my little cousins we do egg hunts, but otherwise we don’t.”

Because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of these activities, many events unattached to traditions have taken place or been planned.  Dr. Bolton proclaimed, “[EIS will do] amazing things. We are going to plant flowers and mulch and mow the lawns.”

Additionally, this pandemic has canceled or altered previously planned events, including the highly anticipated EIS eighth grade formal as well as the recognition ceremony, both scheduled prior to the conclusion of each school year. Dr. Bolton elaborated, ”Our biggest goal right now is planning an in person promotion for the eighth graders. We will hopefully hold something at Kehler Stadium. We’re not sure that we will have a Spring Formal. We can’t ensure social distancing. I have concerns about security if we were to have it outdoors, too.”