Tag Archives: Gobbler’s Knob

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

Hiddey Ho Scribblers!  J Monkeys here.  Today is one of my very favorite holidays – Groundhog’s Day.  I love these slightly off kilter holidays.  No gifts to wrap, no people to cook and clean for, just some fun.  Someday, I’m going to spend February 2nd on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for the big event.  

Now just in case you’ve spent your life under a rock, or are not familiar with kooky American traditions, legend groundhog-dayhas it that if a groundhog (a rodent that lives in a burrow type thing underground) sees his shadow when he emerges on February 2nd, then he will go back to hibernating because we’ll have six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow, then we’ll have an early spring.  Our official groundhog is, of course, Punxsutawney Phil.  Apparently, in years when February 2nd falls on a weekend day (like today) Punxsutawney sees upwards of 20,000 people crowding their otherwise small town for the event.  Other years, they get somewhere in the neighborhood of 13,000 people.  Someday, my family will be five people in the crowd.

By the way exciting times for today: Phil has predicted an early Spring.  After the cold snap we’ve had the last weeks, I’m looking forward to it.  This week, we had a terrible tease of a day.  The early morning hours of Thursday brought us torrential rain and hurricane force gusts, followed by nearly 60 degrees at breakfast time.  Not to worry, it was snowing pretty hard by breakfast yesterday.  Sigh.  New England weather – what a hoot.

patriots' day reinactmentAnother one of these cool holidays is Patriots’ Day.  This is really just a holiday in Massachusetts, although since it’s a state holiday (schools & banks closed, that sort of thing – most especially the post office) when it falls on Monday the 15th of April, the entire country enjoys a brief (day-long) respite from filing the annual income taxes. 

I lived in Boston for a couple of years, and I did celebrate Patriots’ Day in its intended form in 1999.  I arose well before dawn, and trekked to the the Lexington Town Green to watch the Redcoats march in and the Minute Men repel the attack.  It was WICKED cool.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to follow along to Concord because I had to go to work and get fired.  I worked for a New Jersey company with a satellite office in Boston.  They didn’t appreciate the day properly.  Maybe they were just jealous that Longfellow never commemorated a New Jersey event in poem.  But it was cool to be there, and when my kids are old enough to be studying the American Revolution in school (just a few years away) we’ll be taking a road trip to Bean-Town, you can be sure of that!

This is all well and good, but you might be wondering what it has to do with writing.  Well, here it is:

Today’s secret: when you are creating a new world in your writing, as many of us do, don’t forget to give it some important holidays.  Even towns can celebrate something that nobody else does.  Make something up like Pickle Harvest Day, Grape Squishing Day or Scissor Development Day?  There’s a town in the northeast of England that this year will be celebrating 776th annual Sheep Fair this year.  776!  Now that’s dedication.  Seriously – here’s a link to the 2012 festival.  I’ve borrowed it for my current WIP.

Today’s question: what’s your favorite little-known holiday?


Happy Hog Day!

Hello, my lovelies!  Suze here, wishing you a very Happy Groundhog’s Day!

Put me down! You're squishing me!
That Punxsutawney Phil. He’s so darned cute.  You’ve seen the ceremonies on TV, right?  Where a guy dressed in tails and top hat holds a big, fat, floppy groundhog named Phil up to the sky, then determines whether Phil can see his shadow?  If the critter does, there are six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t, spring is right around the corner (What does that mean?  How good a prognosticator is he, really, if he won’t commit to a date?).

If, like me, you can’t make it to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania at 7:20 a.m. today (Drat!  Next year for sure!), you can watch the festivities by clicking here.

If, also like me, you’re a nerd about things like learning the origin of folk traditions, you can read more about them here. For the non-nerds, or the non-link-clickers, Groundhog’s Day as we know it is based on ancient European traditions, but it’s a bear or badger who emerges from its winter lair (the groundhog a/k/a woodchuck or whistlepig) is a North American animal).  It may go back even farther into Celtic times to the festival of Imbolc, a turning point of the Celtic calendar.  I get my information from Wikipedia, peeps, so pagan experts out there feel free to correct me!

Groundhog’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.  Yup, I consider it a holiday, even though I have to work.  Back in my single days, my housemates and I hosted a “Hog Day” party every February 2.  Trust me, it was the social event of the season.  Why did we choose Groundhog’s Day?  Because it was undercelebrated, I guess, unless you live in Pennsylvania.  We didn’t really need a reason.

So, what’s today’s Secret?  Simple.  You’ve been working really, really hard.  I know I have.  Stop at the bakery and bring home a cake for your family (or, gasp! just for yourself.  Then you can get the kind you like). If you’re so inclined, have a glass of champagne or something else fizzy.  If you’ve got party hats and noisemakers left over from New Year’s, now’s the time to bring them out.  Click here to get yourself in the mood. Dancing? Why not? Spring’s coming, you’re alive, and that’s reason enough to celebrate.

What about you?  Have you ever celebrated for no reason?  What’s your favorite silly holiday?  If you miss Groundhog’s Day, National Pig Day is coming up on March 1.  And do you call it a groundhog, woodchuck, whistlepig, or something else (roadkill, or destructive garden-munching rodent)?