Last month we talked about how awesome animals are and some very interesting facts about hamsters, cows, squirrels, and even giraffes. What is missing from this list? You guessed it! The groundhog.
If you are like most people, you are sincerely hoping Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow on February 2. Good-bye winter, hello spring! According to legend, a cloudy Groundhog Day on which the groundhog does not see his shadow, signifies spring will arrive before the equinox. However, a shadow in sight means six more long weeks of winter. But there is a lot more to Groundhog’s Day than the simple legend everyone knows.
Did you know???
Legend has it that Punxsutawney Phil is actually immortal. A groundhog’s lifespan is six to eight years. Supposedly Phil drinks a magic elixir that extends his life by seven years.
February 2 is known as the “cross-quarter” day. This means it falls halfway between one season and another.
The traditional celebration of Groundhog’s Day involved actually eating a groundhog!
Groundhogs are vegetarians.
Groundhogs are very romantic animals. Male groundhogs go burrow to burrow to see if the girls are still there. Those rascals…they are supposed to be sleeping!
Groundhog Day is rooted in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas. This is when the clergy would bless the people and distribute candles needed for the winter. Germans expanded on this idea by selecting the hedgehog to predict the weather. When the Germans came to America they switched from a hedgehog to a groundhog.
Now for some teaching connections…
With Groundhog Day being in February, this a great month to incorporate the science concept of light and shadow. Kids love the mystery of “shadows.” Make some shadow puppets. Be sure and read the Quirkles® book, Lindy Light. This is a favorite with the kids as they discover how shadows are formed.
Need more? Read the Fuddlebrook® story, Liza’s Colorful Tale, and discover the connection between color and light.
Now more than ever, we need to bring some creativity and fun to our classrooms—whether at school or home. Let the groundhog lead the way for an exciting and memorable February.
Stay safe and happy February!