Species Of The Squirrel Family
Otherwise known as a woodchuck, the groundhog is one of fourteen species of the squirrel family, marmots, and prairie dogs. On February 2nd, millions of groundhogs will come out of their burrows and, if they see their shadow, the myth of six more weeks bad winter weather will continue.
Myth Came From A Pagan Celebration
As mentioned, in The Life and Times of Woody Woodchuck – Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog HISTORY, Groundhog Day myth came from a pagan celebration known as Candlemas Day. It is thought to be where weather predicting began and on a sunny Candlemas Day, if the groundhog sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of bad winter weather. When the belief of this European tradition migrated with German immigrants to America in the 18th century, a different folklore merged, and now people all over the world have made note of Groundhog Day.
Many Organizations Join Groundhog Day
Since the established in 1887 of that unique Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania Groundhog Day Club, where thousands of members, merchants, and enthusiasts gather to see if “Punxsutawney Phil” will see his shadow or not, there have been concerted efforts in popularizing and commercializing Groundhog Day. Today, many special events and festivities are honored by schools, media, municipalities, and civic organizations such as: the University of Dallas, the National Geographic Kids, and The Prairie Dog Coalition, who recently integrated their website with The Humane Society of the United States.
Popularity Continues To Grow in Canada
Groundhog Day popularity continues to grow in Canada and the event has attracted much media attention. Each year, the town of Wiarton, Bruce County, Ontario, has its own celebration of Groundhog, “Wiarton Willie”, which it shares with locals, fans, news reporters, and the nation. Early in the morning on February 2nd, they all come out to “hear Willie’s prediction” . Other events at the festival include: dances, contests, parades, and pancake breakfasts.
University of Dallas Alumni Event
One of the largest celebration of the groundhog in the United States, outside of Punxsutawney, is at the University of Dallas. Tradition has sparked imaginations and even pride in the fact that UD host an event that consists of a proclamation involving the school President, a groundhog sighting on the mall, sporting activities, and a celebration at Groundhog Park for students, faculty, staff, friends, and alumni. This year they will celebrate the return of the Groundhog Tour, mini-bonfires, food, live bands, and something for everyone.
“Words of wisdom from the Prairie Dog”