Crazy Challenge Connection discussion on Goodreads
Timeframe: 2/1/15 to 2/18/15
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♦ Unless otherwise noted, books must be at least 150 pages long. Books may only be used for one task in this challenge. Re-reads are allowed, as long as you read the entire book and not simply skim through it.
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1. The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe. For centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in winter, and the weather that day was important.
According to an Old English song:
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Come, Winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas brings cloud and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
♦ Read a book with a candle on the cover Travis's Appeal by Marie Ferrarella
2. Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. The celebration, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore where a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator instead of a groundhog. If the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, they believed, the animal would cast a shadow, thus predicting 6 more weeks of bad weather, which they called "Second Winter." Since groundhogs were plentiful in many parts of the state and resembled the European hedgehog, they determined that it would do the job.
♦ Read the 2nd in a series From This Moment On by Bella Andre
3. The largest Groundhog Day celebration has been held in Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania since at least 1886. Early observances of Phil's predictions were conducted privately in the wooded areas that neighbor the town, but today's celebration sees tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world. It is claimed that Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br'er Groundhog.
♦ Read a book set in Pennsylvania. Once Upon A Valentine's by Holly Jacobs
4. Another February 2nd belief, used by American 19th century farmers, was: “Groundhog Day - Half your hay.” New England farmers knew that they were not close to the end of winter, no matter how cloudy February 2nd was. Indeed, this is often the heart of winter. If the farmer didn't have half his hay remaining, there may have been lean times for the cows before spring and fresh grass arrived.
5. Phil has had numerous noteworthy highlights:
• During Prohibition Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn't allowed a drink.
• 1958 – Phil announced that it was a "United States Chucknik," rather than a Soviet Sputnik that became the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth.
• 1981 - Phil wore a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages in Iran.
• 1986 - Phil traveled to Washington DC to meet with President Reagan.
• 1993 - Comedy movie Groundhog Day was released. The main character (played by Bill Murray) is forced to relive the day over and over until he can learn to give up his selfishness and become a better person. In popular culture, the phrase "Groundhog Day" has come to represent going through a phenomenon over and over until one spiritually transcends it.
• 1995 - Phil appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show.
• 2001 - Phil's prediction was shown live on the JumboTron at Times Square in New York City.
♦ Read a book with a character or author named “Phil” The Christmas Baby Bump by Lynne Marshall
6. In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge, social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g'spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table.
7. According to Groundhog Day organizers, the rodents' forecasts are accurate 75-90% of the time. However, according to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil's weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time. The National Climatic Data Center has described the forecasts as "on average, inaccurate" and stated that "the groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years."
♦ Read a book set in the spring. On Lavender Lane by JoAnn Ross