Groundhog Day 2014
February 2, 2014 in the World

Groundhog Day is an annual holiday celebrated on February 2 in the United States and Canada. According to folklore, if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day fails to see its shadow, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If on the other hand, the groundhog sees its shadow, the groundhog will supposedly retreat into its burrow, and winter will continue 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, put into a bowl in the center of the table.

The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as high as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. Other celebrations of note in Pennsylvania take place in Quarryville in Lancaster County, the Anthracite Region of Schuylkill County, the Sinnamahoning Valley and Bucks County. Outside of Pennsylvania, notable celebrations occur in the Frederick and Hagerstown areas of Maryland, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Woodstock, Illinois, and among the Amish populations of over twenty states and Canada.

The holiday, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog. The holiday also bears some similarities to the medieval Catholic holiday of Candlemas It also bears similarities to the Pagan festival of Imbolc, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar, which is celebrated on February 1 and also involves weather prognostication.

Groundhog Day received worldwide attention as a result of the 1993 film of the same name, Groundhog Day, which was set in Punxsutawney (though filmed primarily in Woodstock, Illinois) and featured Punxsutawney Phil.

Where is Groundhog Day?
Worldwide

World Wetlands Day
February 2, 2014 in the World

World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 02, 2014. It marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called Ramsar Convention, on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

Where is World Wetlands Day?
Worldwide

Marmot Day 2014
February 2, 2014 in Alaska

Marmot Day takes place on February 02, 2014. Marmot Day is an Alaskan holiday established to celebrate marmots and Alaskan culture. Although local festivals have been part and parcel of frontier life for decades, Marmot Day became an official holiday on April 18, 2009, when the 26th Alaska State Legislature officially passed Senate Bill 58.

Where is Marmot Day?
Nationwide Alaska

Historical Events:

1536 – Pedro de Mendoza founds Argentine city of Buenos Aires

1709 – British sailor Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being marooned on a desert island for 5 years, his story inspires “Robinson Crusoe”

1829 – Madman Jonathan Martin sets York Cathedral on fire, does £60,000 damage

1848 – 1st ship load of Chinese arrive in SF

1852 – 1st British public men’s toilet opens (Fleet St London)

1887 – In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed.

1892 – Bottle cap with cork seal patented by William Painter (Baltimore)

1906 – Pope encyclical against separation of church & state

1923 – Ethyl gasoline 1st marketed, Dayton, Ohio

1925 – Dogsleds reach Nome with emergency diphtheria serum after 1000-km

1935 – Lie detector 1st used in court (Portage Wisc)

1943 – German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad, turning point of WW II

1954 – Pres Eisenhower reports detonation of 1st H-bomb (done in 1952)

1962 – 8 of 9 planets align for 1st time in 400 years

1964 – GI Joe, debuts as a popular American boy’s toy

1977 – Radio Shack officially begins creating TRS-80 computer

1990 – South Africa’s Pres FW de Klerk promises to free Nelson Mandela & legalizes ANC & 60 other political orgs