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Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2 - Groundhog Day

If you are from America, you know what Groundhog Day is. I know I have at least one Australian reader, and there may be others from other countries, who may not know about our American tradition every February 2.

We depend on a groundhog to come out of his burrow and predict if we will have 6 more weeks of winter or if spring is right around the corner. He has been named Punxsutawney Phil and the event makes national news.

Here is what I found about the day ~ ~

The legend of Groundhog Day is based on an old Scottish couplet: "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year."
Every February 2, people gather at Gobbler's Knob, a wooded knoll just outside of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Residents contend that the groundhog has never been wrong.
The ceremony in Punxsutawney was held in secret until 1966, and only Phil's prediction was revealed to the public. Since then, Phil's fearless forecast has been a national media event.
The groundhog comes out of his electrically heated burrow, looks for his shadow and utters his prediction to a Groundhog Club representative in "groundhogese." The representative then translates the prediction for the general public.
If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, it means spring is just around the corner.
Approximately 90% of the time, Phil sees his shadow.
Phil started making predictions in 1887 and has become an American institution.
We, who are very tired of winter by this time, always hope that P. Phil does NOT  see his shadow! I just read in a local newspaper that this winter is in the running for one of the coldest winters on record, so we are so very ready for spring and warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, today is sunny here so any groundhog in this area WILL see his shadow.

This always reminds me of an old tongue twister because a groundhog is also called a woodchuck.

How much wood
would a woodchuck chuck, 
if a woodchuck
could chuck wood?

As much wood
as a woodchuck would, 
if a woodchuck 
could chuck wood.

The groundhog/woodchuck is a large rodent. I had never seen one until I was visiting my son in Virginia a few years ago. We took a drive along part of the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway and happened to see one among the trees. My son and wife had seen one before but did not know what it was and I didn't either since we are all Iowan born and raised. Later they found out it was a groundhog, so I can add that to my list of animals seen in the 'wild'.


  1. There is a little town in Utah that has a guinea pig, named Sunset Sam (named after the town of Sunset). He comes out at sunset on Feb. 2nd to look for his shadow. I think it is a cute twist to the groundhog day legend.

    1. How funny! From a groundHOG to a guinea PIG. And neither one says "Oink, oink".

  2. Lots of groundhogs here! I am ready for spring but wouldn't mind another snow!

    1. I will make a deal with you - I will send you all the snow we get from now until spring.


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