|Wiarton Willy Statue, Ontario Canada|
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
~Old English Poem
Groundhog Day is only days away. Here in the USA, we celebrate it on February second each year. While we are in the midst of a snow weary winter here in the Northeast, I like to think that when Groundhog Day is here, spring can't be far behind, whether or not he sees his shadow! Right? Plus, I love special days that give us a reason to to play!
Here are some resources that will hopefully help you "pop out" of those winter doldrums.
- Groundhog, woodchuck or marmot are common terms for the same animal. Closely related to squirrels, woodchucks actually can climb trees and also swim.
- The name woodchuck comes from the Indian legend of "Wojak, the groundhog" considered by them to be their ancestral grandfather.
- In hibernation groundhogs greatly reducing their metabolic rate, and their body temperature drops to just a few degrees above ambient temperature. During hibernation their body temperature drops as low as 39-40 degrees F.
- Groundhogs eat succulent green plants, such as dandelion greens, clover, plantain and grasses and garden vegetables. Woodchuck's binge and purposefully put on weight in the summer. By late August prepare for hibernation in October. By February, hibernating woodchucks have lost as much as half their body weight
- The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
- The groundhog's full name is actually "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary." It was so proclaimed by the "Punxsutawney Groundhog Club" in 1887
- The name Punxsutawney comes from the Indian name for the location "ponksad-uteney" which means "the town of the sandflies."
- A similar custom is celebrated among Orthodox Christians in Serbia on February 15 (February 2 according to local Julian calendar) during the feast of celebration of Sretenje or The Meeting of the Lord. It is believed that on this day the bear will awake from winter dormancy, and if in this sleepy and confused state it sees (meets) its own shadow, it will get scared and go back to sleep for an additional 40 days, thus prolonging the winter. If it is sunny on Sretenje, it is the sign that the winter is not over yet. If it is cloudy, it is a good sign that the winter is about to end.
- In Germany, June 27 (Also known as my birthday. Okay, so that's really not in the Wikipedia article but I was sure you would want to know :) is "Siebenschläfertag" (Seven Sleepers Day). If it rains that day, the rest of summer is supposedly going to be rainy.
- In the United Kingdom, July 15 is known as St. Swithun's day. If it rained on that day, it would rain for the next 40 days and nights.
Gluscabe Traps the Animals from Earth Care – World Folktales to Talk About by Margaret Read MacDonald.
Groundhog Dance – You can find a fun audience participation story about groundhogs, based on the origin above in Twenty Tellable Tales: Audience Participation Folktales for the beginning storyteller by Margaret Read Macdonald.
How the Woodchuck Helped Menabozho – Chippewa Legend
Origin of the Groundhog Dance
The Best Groundhog Day Books for Kids
Groundhog Meets Grimm – Award winning Storyteller Megan Hicks adds her own flair to these well-known tales. You will definitely come out of hibernation to hear these stories again and again. http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7147441
Enchanted Learning - Ground Hog Day Puppet
Enchanted Learning - There are also printables, crafts and curriculum ideas here: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/groundhogday/
Groundhog Day Door Hangers - Want to make sure you get enough sleep? Make this fun door hangers and maybe you won't be disturbed. http://homeschooling.about.com/od/holidays/ss/groundhogprint_6.htm
Ground Hog Day Finger Puppet
Groundhog Day Activities! – Poetry, songs, art and more.
How Did the Groundhog Get a Day of His Own?
Student Activity – Ground Hog Day Map
Groundhog Day Crossword Puzzle http://homeschooling.about.com/od/holidays/ss/groundhogprint_3.htm
Ground Hog Day Word Search
Natures Big Sleep by Gardner Soule – An article from Popular Science magazine on the science of hibernation.
Hinterland Who’s Who – Interesting fact sheet on woodchucks.
FINGERPLAYS AND SONGS
Storybug.net: Seeking His Shadow: It's Groundhog Day!
This is a blog post I wrote to complement a toddler's lapsit program.
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Karen Chace 2011 ©
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