The wish for a shorter winter lives strong in the hearts of many people, some years more than others. Cold, wind, snow, shoveling, wet mittens, winter boots … at one point or another, most of us call “Uncle”. Common sense or not, we pin our hopes on Groundhog Day. No matter where we live, by February 2, most of us are hoping against hope that Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow, thereby shortening our winter by six weeks.
Groundhog Day happens at the midway point between winter solstice and spring equinox and may have originally been based on the Christian celebration of Candlemas Day, as a traditional old English rhyme outlines:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
It’s all in good fun, a nice distraction from the cold and snowy weather. And a good time to watch the “Groundhog Day” movie with the children. Other Groundhog Day activities for young children:
- Make shadows on the wall with a flashlight. Talk about what makes a shadow.
- Talk about each season and what determines the season.
- Explain that whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not does not determine the length of winter.
- The National Education Association has wonderful lesson plans http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/groundhog-day-for-the-classroom.html for parents and teachers to use on Groundhog Day.
So, have a happy Groundhog Day. May the results be what you want!
Is there a special someone who has a birthday or anniversary on Groundhog Day? Greeting Card Universe has you covered:
Greeting Card Universe has a Groundhog Day Pinterest board
February 2nd is annually celebrated as Groundhog Day—an animal also known as a woodchuck. Just how much wood would a woodchuck chuck is irrelevant to this lighthearted holiday. Instead, the humble groundhog has become a national winter weather predictor. How and when did the association begin? Here are the answers to this question and others you may not know.
In the Beginning: Originally, Christians deemed February 2 as Candlemas Day, a time when churches distributed candles to hold back the winter darkness. In Germany, a tradition began around the hedgehog to determine if winter would end early or continue longer. When German immigrants came to Pennsylvania in the U.S., they chose groundhogs—a more plentiful animal—to prognosticate.
A Legend is Born: The very first Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania took place in 1887. The legend was created by a newspaper journalist and member of the Punxutawney Groundhog Club.
They Called Him Pete: Prior to 1952, the groundhog living on the famous Gobbler’s Know was named Pete. When, an AP journalist did a story on Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and the local weather predicting groundhog living on Gobbler’s Knob in 1952, he named the groundhog “Phil” instead of Pete and the new name stuck.
The Rivals: Punxutawney Phil isn’t the only groundhog with the special “ability” to let us know whether winter will last six more weeks. His rivals include Staten Island Chuck in New York, Smith Lake Jake in Alabama, General Beauregard Lee in Georgia, Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia and others.
Whether winter snows and storms will last six more weeks or not, send someone a sunny smile with unique Groundhog Day cards from Greeting Card Universe. Order on-line and we’ll mail your cards the next business day!