Further Proof that Ben Franklin was ‘da man’! Poor Richard’s Almanack (sometimes written Almanac) was first published on December 19, 1732 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was a monthly periodical consisting of a collection of puzzles, weather forecasts and other amusements, including practical household hints. Think Lifehacker. He published the almanac under the name Richard Saunders or Poor Richard from 1732 until 1758. The monthly publication was hugely popular selling over 10,000 copies a year.
Groundhog Day may be one of may favorite all time movies, but it is also a pretty big deal everyday for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the same town depicted in the movie. The movie was actually filmed in Woodstock and they are so proud of being the location of the movie that they’ve erected a plaque at the corner with the troublesome puddle and named it “Ned’s Corner.” They also have their own groundhog now, Woodstock Willie, and the local movie theater shows the movie for free every Groundhog’s Day weekend. Despite the terrible weather the midwest and east are getting it all seems to be moving forward.
Here is a great overview of the history of the day. I was going to paraphrase all this, but I liked exactly how it was written:
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.
If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.
If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.
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