Groundhog Day 2010

GroundhogToday is Groundhog Day.  When you think of Groundhog Day, you probably think of that cheesy movie with Bill Murray from 1993 (the same year I graduated high school, scary). But actually, there is some history to good ole’ “Punxsutawney Phil”.

German settlers landed in Punxsutawney, Philadelphia in the 1700’s.  They brought with them a tradition known as “Candlemas Day”.

Candlemas Day is a Christian feast commemorating the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple.

The German shepherd would rather see a wolf enter his stable on Candlemas Day than the sun.  A proverbial belief in Germany concerning Candlemas is that the badger peeps out of his hole on that day, and if he finds snow walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining, he draws back into his hole.-NY Times 1899

The Germans brought this superstition back with them to America. But the badger is substituted in America for the groundhog which is from the squirrel family is substituted. Did they say squirrel family? You know that I’m a huge fan of squirrels!

Here is the Candlemas Religious Citation that was recited by the Germans:

If Candlemas day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight. If Candlemas day brings clouds and rain, Winter is gone and won’t come again.

So that is the history of Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil. But do you want some interesting facts?

  • The average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long.
  • A groundhog’s life span is normally 6 to 8 years. Phil receives a drink of a magical punch every summer during the annual Groundhog Picnic, which gives him 7 more years of life.
  • In 1981 Phil wore a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages in Iran.
  • In 2001, Phil’s prediction was shown live on the JumboTron at Times Square in New York City.

Do you want to celebrate Groundhog Day with the kiddos? Explain it to them in kid-fashion.  Here are some sites with cute crafts for Groundhog Day.

Enchanted Learning

Kaboose

Check out the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to see what Phil saw today!

My awesome groundhog picture was found on the Interwebs. It was everywhere. I had to use “this” one, cause it looks Angry!

UPDATE:::Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and forecast six more weeks of winter.

10 comments
Well Read Hostess
Well Read Hostess

Cheesy movie!!! I LOOOOVE that movie. And, in fact, I use it when I teach the Odyssey as a parallel text. I know. You're in awe of my highbrow intellectual approach. (I also love winter, six more weeks is good news to me!)

Jess
Jess

Honestly way more than I ever intended to know about the history of Groundhog's Day. Look at you with all the facts of life. Good show.

tracey
tracey

I'm always amused at how many traditions in our lives have such strong religious backgrounds. Also, I love how the Christian religion spawns from just as many myths and superstitions as the "pagan" religions from our past.

Working Mommy
Working Mommy

Damn groundhog!! I want summer here - like yesterday! ~WM

Desiree @ Writing to Sanity
Desiree @ Writing to Sanity

Booooooo! I strongly dislike winter. (Also, I'm strangely drawn to the groundhog you have pictured. Is he single? LOL)

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

LOL...look at you and your intellectual approach. We don't have that many issues with Winter, since I live in So Cal.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I'm very educational, you know. Who knew I was soo snart. Ok, well, I cheated a little. Me and Mr. Google are BFF's.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

It's amazing how so many things have religious connections. Oh, yes, this was all tied up in Pagan lore.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

Oh you know that you love my groundhog. He's so cute with all of his ammo.