I Was Born on Groundhog Day!

Just in case you recently moved to the United States, and are embarrassingly unaware, February 2nd is a HUGELY celebrated national holiday, and also just happens to be MY BIRTHDAY!GROUNDHOG DAY is just a couple days away! Are you excited? I surely am!!

THIS year, my sister Susan (who lives in Tacoma Washington) is taking me to Punxsutawney Pennsylvania to welcome the Groundhog as it emerges from its burrow on my birthday morning! I consider this a trip of a lifetime!

We fly to Pennsylvania Wednesday. I promise to tell you all about it when we return!

The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania – with crowds as large as 40,000 people. The average draw had been about 2,000 until the year after the movie “Groundhog Day” screened in 1993; after which, attendance rose to about 10,000. It keeps growing each year.

Wow! It will be a BIG party! AND I will be certain to inform the crowd they will be celebrating MY BIRTHDAY!

The holiday originates from the Pennsylvania Dutch who proclaim that if a groundhog – affectionately named Punxsutawney Phil – emerges from his burrow on this day, and sees a shadow due to clear skies, he will retreat to his den and WINTER will persist for six more weeks. If it does not see its shadow, due to cloudiness, SPRING will arrive early.

When I was as young as five or six, I remember my parents explaining the significance of my special birthday and waiting for the morning news to see if the groundhog had seen his shadow!

Dad kept my childhood February 2nd tradition alive. Long after I had been married, he continued calling me – before the sun rose – to wish me a happy birthday and inform me of the groundhog’s verdict that morning.

I always felt extraordinarily unique having been born on a national holiday! Of course, I assumed the whole world was equally enthralled and celebrating with me on my birthday.

Then, I met Duane. I was stunned to discover he had no idea about this holiday. It was almost a deal breaker as to whether or not I would go out with him. Thankfully, he was a quick learner who is now quite proficient in his knowledge of this amazing holiday.

When our three kids were young, I would keep them home from school on Groundhog Day to celebrate with me the entire day! After all, it is a national holiday and I was shocked the schools were in session. It wasn’t until Nancy (first born) was in about 4th grade when she noticed she was missing assignments and questioned me as to why kids in her class seemed NOT to have the day off?

I doubt if our two boys would ever have noticed they were the only kids home from school for the holiday. HA! Oh well, I gave in and sent them to school from that day forth.

How much do you know about the infamous groundhog?

It is an adorable little creature, within the rodent family, that weighs between 15 and 20 pounds and can live up to 8 years. These animals are omnivores, but commonly feast on grass, vegetables, and fruit. Surprisingly, groundhogs have the ability to climb trees and, much like beavers, swim. Each Fall, groundhogs go into hibernation until March, when they will make their official debut back above ground. So, yes, they are awakened a month or so early for their prediction, but happily go back to sleep until their hibernation is complete.

FASCINATING, right?

Now, you are better informed to celebrate with me on February 2nd!!

I’m packing my suitcase with long underwear, tights, boots, gloves, sweaters and earmuffs for our trip! Having grown up in Southern California – celebrating my birthday in the warm sunshine – the 15 degrees in Punxsutawney will be quite a change!

I would love to hear from any other Feb. 2nd birthday people out there! Have you been to Punxsutawney to celebrate???

Talk soon!!

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