Back-to-back American holidays

This is day 2 in a pair of specifically U.S. hoidays. Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday; today is Groundhog Day.

The Super Bowl. NFL [National Football League] Super Bowl XLIX:  New England Patriots over the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24. Extensive coverage at the Super Bowl 49 site.

Super Bowl games are especially noted for their elaborate halftime shows and their commercials. From yesterday’s game, this super-cute puppy and horse commercial.

Groundhog Day. Start with the groundhog:

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From the Michigan Animal Removal site:

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks or whistle-pigs. Whatever you call them, these critters typically grow 17-26 inches long, and weigh about 4.5 to 9 pounds. They will absolutely destroy your lawn, digging away with thick, long claws and strong arms. They have two coats of fur, one a thicker, longer inside layer, and a lighter-colored protective layer outside. You can tell a rodent on your lawn is a groundhog if it appears “frosted” in color, as the longer, outside hairs are typically the lighter-colored layer.

Then the holiday. From Wikipedia:

Groundhog Day … is a day celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.

In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge, social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g’spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table.

The holiday has been made famous through a Bill Murray movie:

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Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. It was written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, based on a story by Rubin.

Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.

One Response to “Back-to-back American holidays”

  1. Joseph F Foster Says:

    In Ohio of course we are a little suspicious of the weather prognostication power of those effete Eastern Groundhogs. We have our very own fine upstanding, er, upsitting groundhog named Buckeye Chuck.

    But of course, being a true Southerner despite 4 years of exile in Illinois and 45 years of exile in Ohio, I always await the report from the General Headquarters in Georgia of the Supreme Groundhog, General Beauregard Lee.

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