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February 2nd Trivia

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About Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2nd. It is said on this day, when the groundhog comes out of his deep sleep, if he sees his shadow it means there will be six more weeks of winter. If there is no shadow to be seen, spring is near.

The idea of Groundhog Day roots from the comparable European tradition, Candlemas Day. February 2nd has always been a significant day since it marks the dead of winter. On this day, the clergy would bless candles and hand them out to the people. As an old English song went a little something like this:

"If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again."

History goes that the Roman legions brought the Candlemas tradition to the Germans, who constructed the idea that if the sun was out and an animal, in their case a hedgehog, cast a shadow, there would be six more weeks of winter. When the Germans came to Pennslyvania, they found groundhogs to be similar to the hedgehog used in their tradition. The groundhog was then adopted as the animal who determines the course of the winter season.

The official groundhog is named Punxsutawney Phil, who appears from his hole at Gobbler's Knole in Pennslyvania every year. The first recorded celebration of Groundhog Day, then still known as Candlemas Day, was in the year 1841 in Morgantown, PA. However, the first official Groundhog Day at Gobbler's Knole was in February of 1887.

The growing popularity of the groundhog since its first appearance in the 1800's is astounding. Not only has Punxsutawney Phil traveled to meet President Regan in Washington, he's also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and there is even a movie dedicated (kind of) to his special day!

In 1993, Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell starred in the Romantic Comedey, Groundhog Day. In the movie, a weather man (Murray) is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting "rat" (as he calls it). This is his fourth year on the story, and he makes no effort to hide his frustration. On awaking the 'following' day he discovers that it's Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. First he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realisation that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing EVERY day.

Every year, hundreds of people come from around the world to watch Punxsutawney Phil emerge from his little knole. Why not be one of them? Click HERE to get more information on attending the infamous Groundhog Day at Gobblers Knole.

February 2nd In Pop Culture History

February 2 in Pop Culture History
It's Groundhog's Day. Formerly, Hedgehog Day.

" Well, it's Groundhog Day... again... and that must mean that we're up here at Gobbler's Knob waiting for the forecast from the world's most famous groundhog weatherman, Punxsutawney Phil, who's just about to tell us how much more winter we can expect."
- Phil

1046 - The "Little Ice Age" began in Europe.

1653 - New Amsterdam (now the City of New York) was incorporated.

1876 - National League (now Major League Baseball) of baseball was founded

1887 - The first Groundhog Day was observed in Punxsutawney, PA

1892 - The bottle cap with cork seal was patented (#468,226) by William Painter, from Baltimore.

1893 - The Record of a Sneeze was filmed by Thomas Edison. It was the first filmed 'close up.'

1914 - Charlie Chaplin's first film appearance, Making a Living premiered in early theaters.

1922 - Ulysses by James Joyce was published.

1925 - Dog sleds, led by Gunnar Kasson, reached Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod Race.

1925 - Sears & Roebuck opened their first retail store, in Chicago.

1928 - Great Fall River Fire, Massachusetts

1936 - The record 24-hour snowfall for Hawaii was 6.5 inches that fell on the Haleakala volcano.

1950 - What's My Line debuted on CBS.

1961 -Nearly 600 passengers aboard the hijacked Santa Maria liner were finally landed and released in Brazil.

1964 - G.I. Joe action figures (they are not 'dolls'!) went on sale for the first time, featuring the four branches of the US military.

1967 - The American Basketball Association (ABA) was established. It only had four teams (New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs) and later merged with its competition, the National Basketball Association (NBA).

1974 - # 1 Hit February 2, 1974 - February 8, 1974: Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were

1979 - Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose in New York City.

1980 - An FBI operation called ABSCAM, an undercover operation regarding US congressional corruption was made known to the public.

1985 - # 1 Hit February 2, 1985 - February 15, 1985: Foreigner - I Want to Know What Love Is

1989 - Sky Television began broadcasting in the UK.

1990 - President De Klerk of South Africa lifted the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid group the African National Congress (ANC).

1992 - # 1 Hit February 1, 1992 - February 7, 1992: George Michael & Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

2000 - Oxygen debuted on cable.

2013 - # 1 Hit February 2, 2013 - March 1, 2013: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz - Thrift Shop

February 2nd
Celebrity Birthdays

Now You Know...

Christie Brinkley (1954)
Gale Gordon (1906 - 1995)
Brent Spiner (1949)
Shakira 'Shakira Mebarak' (1977)
Farrah Fawcett (1947 - 2009)
Graham Nash (1942)
Eva Cassidy (1963 - 1996)
Garth Brooks (1962)
Stan Getz (1927 - 1991)
Tom Smothers (1937)
The 'Bible Belt' consisting of the east coast, Florida through Virginia and west to Texas and Oklahoma was first used in the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 1924.

 



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