Groundhog Day

February 2 is Groundhog Day here. This is the first year I think Hazel will truly understand the tradition and is looking forward to watching television tomorrow morning to see if the Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not. Now interesting enough Groundhog Day stems from Candlemas. Now the first time I heard about Candlemas was in the Waldorf School, but I didn't really understand what it was. According to old European sayings, the weather of Candlemas predicts the length of winter. 

The Old English Saying is "If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, winter, have another flight; If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go winter, and come not again." A Scottish version is "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There'll be two winters in the year." A German version is "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, So far the snow will swirl until May; For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day, So far will the sun shine before May." American farmers have the saying, "If the sun shines on Groundhog Day; Half the fuel and half the hay." 

Since Punxsutawney Phil moved to Gobbler's Knob in 1887, he has seen his shadow 100 times with not seeing his shadow 17 times and no record 9 years. Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, eat dandelions, clover and grass and are members of the squirrel family. (Sources: Wikipedia and Stormfax)

For Hazel to get some understanding of Groundhog Day, we took some books out of the library. In each of these books (pictured above) a groundhog determines the weather on Groundhog Day. In Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather by Bruce Koscielniak, Geoffrey finds it easy the first year to predict the weather, but the next year he oversleeps and is woken up by the crowd gathered outside his burrow. He has no idea about his shadow with all the lights from the cameras and such of the crowd. He finally predicts the weather by calling his mother. In Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill, Phyllis wants to take over when Uncle Phil retires, but no female groundhog has ever gotten to be Phil. She proves herself to be better at predicting the weather than Uncle Phil and her male cousins. In Gretchen Groundhog, It's Your Day! By Abby Levine, Gretchen is scared to go out to face the crowd. It is her first year at the job and she is shy. It is a wonderful story of how she ends up facing her fear with some United States history thrown in. In Gregory's Shadow by Don Freeman, Gregory is best friends with his shadow. He does not want to go out on Groundhog Day without his shadow, but he knows the people do not want him to see his shadow. At one point the two get separated and lost to one another, but eventually they find each other and Gregory figures out a way to go out with his shadow but not see him.

We also had some fun with groundhog crafts. We made the paper ones from a printable at DLTK Kids. Hazel colored hers and I used the colored template. 

I got the idea of using the paper plate from Kiboomu Kid Songs. I tried to do it from memory and did not get the placement of things and coloring quite right, but Hazel loved drawing the sun.

The idea of cutting a shadow of black construction paper came from All Kids Network. They also have a shadow matching game that we haven't tried yet, but looked like it would be fun.

Are you doing anything for Groundhog Day or Candlemas? I know I am hoping for no shadow tomorrow!! I cannot wait for spring weather to get here. It has been too cold this winter!