Saturday, January 7, 2012

Groundhog Day!

I realize that few people truly celebrate Groundhog Day, but I absolutely LOVE it!  Did you know that Groundhog Day was actually Candlemas?  Candlemas is a Christian holiday which celebrates one of the earliest events in the life of Jesus Christ ~ his presentation at the Temple 40 days after his birth.  This was also the time that Mary was "ritual purification".  Jesus was presented to Simeon.  The significance of the presentation to Simeon in particular is that it was prophesied that Simeon would live to lay eyes on the Savior.  

In older times Candlemas was a day to have your candles blessed by the priest.  This is connected to the fact that Jesus is known as The Light of the World.  Candlemas was also a day that was to foretell the weather.  This is a traditional German poem about Candlemas Day:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

The Germans used a hedgehog, but when they came to America, they had to settle for a groundhog.  So, what exactly should one do on Groundhog Day?  Well, first the day should be spent by candlelight!  Kids, especially, will have a ball with this, but who doesn't love to have dinner by candlelight?  Since it is still so dark in the morning, a candlelight breakfast is a must! Now, I have read about many connections between pancakes and Groundhog Day, but I have yet to understand exactly WHY pancakes are traditional on Candlemas/Groundhog Day.  But, since it is a celebration, why not go all out?  I found this post about Groundhog Pancakes that I thought was adorable:

Alison, the author of the AMAZING blog HowDoesShe has some great ideas too!  And how can I talk about Groundhog Day without mentioning Secrets of a Super Mommy's blog!?!  She does an awesome Silly Socks Valentine Day Advent/Countdown that includes lots of Groundhog Day fun!  They dined on the floor and ate a groundhog-shaped meatloaf!  

I decided that I would extend the fun to my students this year and made them Groundhog Grub treat bags filled with gummi worms.  I really like how they came out:

Last year, we planned on attending the Groundhog Day ceremony at the Staten Island Zoo to see what Staten Island Chuck's prediction would be, but we had a bad snowstorm!  So we didn't attend, but we did stay home and have fun anyway!  We cooked chocolate chip pancakes and I picked up a store-bought cake that I decorated with a groundhog statue that I have and buried him in graham crackers to make it look like he was coming out of the ground.  It came out cute!  And our daughter had a lot of fun too :)

I would love to hear about any fun things/traditions or ideas you have for Groundhog Day!

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