Ok. You know about Groundhog Day, right? If you grew up in the United States, you have celebrated this (or not) for years. But do you know why? This tradition has been going on for 138 years as of this February. Do you also know that it is celebrated in Canada? Right! Apparently, we are longing for spring and need a predictor of when it will arrive. The chosen groundhog lives in Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, and is called Punxsutawney Phil. Every year, this town goes wild for the event that will predict spring. Apparently, the whole town gathers at sunrise to observe this groundhog emerge from its winter sleep, crawl into the present, and observe whether it sees its shadow or not. If he sees his shadow, then we are in for six more weeks of winter. Brrrr.
Of course, this is not a 138-year-old groundhog. Perhaps he is a relative of the original. Who knows! German immigrants brought this tradition with them, and even though they depended on the badger in Germany and other European countries used the bear, the immigrants found the groundhog to be an excellent substitute.
Traditions are an important part of our identity and a way that we pass on our heritage from one generation to the next. We all have traditions, no matter how small or big. Think for a moment about the traditions in your family. Describe them. Do you know the history of these family traditions? I hope these stories have been passed down from one generation to the next. Traditions give us a sense of grounding and belonging. Talk to the keepers of the traditions in your family. Find out the background story.
We all need to feel connected, and regardless of how serious or silly the tradition is, remember that the bonding that we experience helps us to feel important and valuable even if the tradition is somewhat silly.