monkey with a picture of a groundhog and the date February 2nd

Groundhog’s Day

monkey with a picture of a groundhog and the date February 2nd

I believe that Groundhog’s day is one of the more underrated holidays. It seems to be celebrated only in North America, and despite lending its name to a Bill Murray movie, it lacks the international recognition it so dearly deserves. Yes, a few very hip, trendy, and Groundhog-aware cities do their best to drum up enthusiasm for the holiday. But, for the most part, there is a severe lack of groundhog day parties, parades, picnics, pastries, percussion performances, poetry readings, and week-long festivals devoted to the furry little weatherman.

To make this holiday a little more exciting, I started the tradition of baking groundhog’s day cookies and giving them to my friends. I am sure in a year, or two everyone will be joining in and bestowing groundhog gifts, treats and cards on family and friends. Can annual Groundhog’s day dances and traditional Groundhog’s day fireworks displays lighting up the chilly winter sky be far off?

Groundhog Day or Candlemas (not to be confused with the glorious holiday of Candlenights) is the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Ancient wisdom tells us that bright clear weather on February 2nd meant six more weeks of winter weather. If it’s gloomy and overcast, then spring is just around the corner. But where are the historical roots of this belief?

In Germany, hibernating hedgehogs were watched to see if they stayed out of their burrows on Candlemas or if they returned to catch a few more winks. Eventually, Germans settled in hedgehog-free neighborhoods in North America. Luckily for them, the plucky woodchuck, who has always shown a great aptitude for meteorology, stepped right up to fill in the shoes of its European cousin. The next thing you know, the woodchucks have adopted the stage name of “groundhogs” and lobbied to have the name “Candlemas” changed to Groundhog’s day. The rest is history.

Here are some tips on weather prognostication using a your own groundhog.

Tasty Groundhog’s day rock cakes to share with friends.

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