February, a Month for Celebration

By Myrl Prather
   February is a month chock full of days for us to celebrate, one way or another. There is Valentine’s Day, which is a happy day for all. Lovers of all sorts, sweethearts, friends, etc., remember each other with flowers, candy and beautiful cards on this romantic occasion.
   Then, there are days honoring Presidents Washington and Lincoln, those important people who helped shape the destiny of our country. The Boy Scouts of America, one of the great organizations in our country, was founded on Feb. 8, 1910. Ash Wednesday, a special day for Christians, is generally celebrated sometime in the month.
   The famous poet and a person worth honoring, Henry W. Longfellow, was born in February. And that day never to be forgotten, Feb. 20, 1962—the day Americans realized their dream of putting a man in orbit. And, of course, the day a little furry weather forecaster predicts our weather—Groundhog Day.
   It’s nice to have a reason to celebrate and join the rest of the nation in honoring important people in history, and remembering important events that happened to make our country and our lives better.

History of Groundhog Day

   Groundhog Day:
Check Phil’s weather prediction! On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s groundhog extraordinaire, will again stick his head out of his den. The nation awaits his verdict.
   Groundhog Day is said to have its origins in ancient weather lore where the prognosticator was often a badger or a sacred bear. In the United States, its origin is said to come from a Pennsylvania German custom.
   If Phil, peeking from his burrow, fails to see his shadow, winter will soon be over. If the sun happens to be shining and Phil sees his shadow, winter will continue for six more weeks.
   The first trek to meet with Phil began in 1887. He has been emerging from his burrow in Pennsylvania ever since, always eager to greet his public.
   Phil is private in many ways, but a few rumors have circulated about him.
   *He gets his longevity from drinking the “elixir of life” of which he takes one sip every summer during the Groundhog Picnic. This gives him seven more years of life.
   *It is said he is named after King Philip, a famous Native American leader. In his more plebeian days, he was called Br’er Groundhog.
   *He speaks only in Groundhogese, which luckily is a language understood by the President of the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle provides for Phil during the year, rather like a court provides for its king.
   The city of Punxsutawney offers several days of celebration for those who gather from around the world to hear Phil’s proclamation. The city offers food, music, carriage rides, magicians, crafts and games.

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