February 2 in Pop Culture History

February 2nd History, Trivia and, Fun Facts

February 2nd History Highlights

  • 1653 – New Amsterdam (now the City of New York) was incorporated.
  • 1913 – Grand Central Terminal is opened in New York City.
  • 1925 – Balto and Togo led a team via Dog Sleg to the town of Nome, Alaska, with antitoxin serum for an outbreak of Diptheria. An estimated 10,000 people may have been saved.
  • 1990 – President De Klerk of South Africa lifted the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid group the African National Congress (ANC).
  • If you were born on February 2nd,
    You were likely conceived the week of… May 12th (prior year)

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.

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 that 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 1800s is astounding. Not only has Punxsutawney Phil traveled to meet President Regan in Washington, but 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 Comedy, Groundhog Day. In the movie, a weatherman (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 waking 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 realization 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 is…

California Kiwifruit Day
Crepe Day
Groundhog Day. Formerly, Hedgehog Day, formerly Candlemas Day.
Heavenly Hash Day
Self Renewal Day
Tator Tot Day
February 2 is Self Renewal Day, a day set aside for taking the time to focus on ourselves and our well-being. This special day allows us to take some quiet moments to reflect and refresh ourselves with self-care practices. We can use this day to start a new self-care routine or rekindle old habits that we moved away from due to other commitments.

February 2nd Birthday Quotes

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”
– James Joyce in Ulysses

“To get such beauty from something that has been produced from the artist’s own imagination appealed to me enormously.”
– Solomon R. Guggenheim

“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”
– Abba Eban

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”
– Ayn Rand

“I pefer an ugly truth to a pretty lie.”
– Shakira

“People will always be around to tell you you’re no good or you’re wrong or unwise to keep doing what you want to do. They’re wrong. They’re always wrong. Keep going.”
– Elaine Stritch

“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.”
– Tommy Smothers

“Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.”
– Liz Smith

“I deeply believe in one’s own positive will to overcome even the most daunting challenges.”
– Farrah Fawcett

“I cannot play a lie. I have to believe in what I play or it won’t come out.”
– Stan Getz

February 2nd Birthdays

1585 – Hamnet Shakespeare, William Shakespeare’s only son (baptized on this date, died 1596)
1861 – Solomon R. Guggenheim, American businessman and philanthropist, Guggenheim Museum (died in 1949)
1882 – James Joyce, Irish novelist, short story writer and poet (died in 1941)
1905 – Ayn Rand, Russian/American novelist and philosopher (died in 1982)
1915 – Abba Eban, South African/Israeli author (died in 2002)
1923 – Liz Smith, American journalist and author (died in 2017)
1925 – Elaine Stritch, American actress and singer (died in 2014)
1927 – Stan Getz, American saxophonist (died in 1991)
1933 – Tony Jay, English-American actor (died in 2006)
1937 – Tom Smothers, American comedian and actor
1942 – Graham Nash, English-American singer-songwriter
1947 – Farrah Fawcett, American actress (died in 2009)
1948 – Roger Williamson, English race car driver (died in 1973)
1949 – Brent Spiner, American actor
1954 – Christie Brinkley, American actress and model
1977 – Shakira, Colombian singer-songwriter

February 2nd History

1046 – The “Little Ice Age” began in Europe.

1872 – The Prohibition Party held its first national convention in Columbus, Ohio, nominating James Black as its presidential nominee.

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.

1913 – Grand Central Terminal, also known as Grand Central Station, is a commuter railway terminal located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The terminal officially opened on February 2, 1913, and it was one of the most significant transportation hubs in the world at the time. The terminal was built by the New York Central Railroad and it was designed by the architectural firm of Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore. The terminal spans over 48 acres and features 44 platforms, making it the largest train station in the world at its opening. It was designed with a Beaux-Arts style and featured a main concourse that was more than 300 feet long, with a ceiling painted with a night sky and constellations. Grand Central Terminal is still an active transportation hub, and it is a National Historic Landmark, a New York City Landmark, and a National Register of Historic Places.

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

1922Ulysses by James Joyce was published.

1924 – President Calvin Coolidge became the first President to deliver a radio address from the White House.

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.

1950What’s My Line debuted on CBS.

1959 – Nine experienced ski hikers in the northern Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union die under mysterious circumstances.

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 StreisandThe 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.

February 2, 19** – Phil Conners lived the same day over and over, Groundhog Day, Film

1985 – #1 Hit February 2, 1985 – February 15, 1985: ForeignerI Want to Know What Love Is

1989 – Sky Television began broadcasting in the UK.

1992 – #1 Hit February 1, 1992 – February 7, 1992: George Michael & Elton JohnDon’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 WanzThrift Shop

#1 Hit February 2, 2019 – March 8, 2019: Ariana Grande – 7 Rings

February 2, 2388 – (fiction) Data was first activated, Star Trek, TV

Today’s Random Trivia and Shower Thoughts

Embiggen – The Simpsons – meaning to make larger. ” I can embiggen this sentence by adding a big, cromulent word to make it larger”.

In Animal House, Bluto’s grade point average was 0.0.

“I wish I knew how to quit you.” – Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) #moviequotes

The first avocado tree in the United States was planted in Florida in 1833.

The question “Can you hear me?” technically only has one answer.

King George of Saxony’s (August 8, 1832 – October 15, 1904) full name was Friedrich August Georg Ludwig Wilhelm Maximilian Karl Maria Nepomuk Baptist Xaver Cyriacus Romanus English: Frederick Augustus George Louis William Maximilian Charles Maria Nepomuk Baptist Xaver Cyriacus Romanus

Hot girl is going out with a jerk jock. The nerd secretly loves the hot girl. #moviecliches

A baby spider is called a spiderling.

During the production of Saving Private Ryan, Matt Damon was intentionally kept out of the boot camp training with the other stars to make them resent his character more.

When you rearrange the letters “ELEVEN PLUS TWO” you get “TWELVE PLUS ONE”

The poor gamble, the wealthy play the odds.

“Failure doesn’t come from falling down. Failure comes from not getting up.” – Karim Seddiki

The original (1781) name of Los Angeles was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula,” or “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on of the River Porciúncula.”

If you want to fight someone who can read your mind, just think in a language they dont understand.

The Star Wars Title Sequence was Inspired by a Movie about the Railroad Industry Titled Union Pacific.

A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself.
Prime Days include:
February: 2/2 ,2/3 ,2/5 ,2/7 ,2/11 ,2/13 ,2/17 ,2/19 ,2/23 ,2/29/17, 2/29/19, 2/29/23, 2/29/29
March: 3/2 ,3/3 ,3/5 ,3/7 ,3/11 ,3/13 ,3/17 ,3/19 ,3/23 ,3/29 ,3/31
May: 5/2 ,5/3 ,5/5 ,5/7 ,5/11 ,5/13 ,5/17 ,5/19 ,5/23 ,5/29 ,5/31
July: 7/2 ,7/3 ,7/5 ,7/7 ,7/11 ,7/13 ,7/17 ,7/19 ,7/23 ,7/29 ,7/31
November: 11/2 ,11/3 ,11/5 ,11/7 ,11/11 ,11/13 ,11/17 ,11/19 ,11/23

More Pop Culture History Resources