Cinco De Mayo!!

Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone! It is time to celebrate the win of the Mexican army over the French forces. This holiday is celebrated nationwide but especially in the state of Puebla, Mexico. This is NOT Mexico’s independence day. The most patriotic holiday celebrated in Mexico is September 16. Well I would just like to wish all of you a happy Cinco De Mayo! Eat lots of traditional food like tamales, enchiladas, chiles rellenos, etc. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!

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Mariachi! http://www.flickr.com/photos/39742989@N04/4164006625

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Tamales! http://www.flickr.com/photos/38854364@N00/1185756314

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day by Michelle S.

If you think Groundhog Day is a boring holiday, well think again. Groundhog day is actually quite interesting. It is about a groundhog that predicts the weather on February 2ND. Groundhog Day started religious and over time, it turned to just for fun. You always have to keep in mind that this holiday is all pretend and just for fun. Although Groundhog Day is not the most important or serious holiday in the United States, it still has an interesting story behind it.

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I.   The Official Animal, the Groundhog

The official animal for Groundhog Day, is of course, the groundhog. Groundhogs are rodents that can also be called marmots, whistle pigs, and woodchucks. (Buzzle.com) They are herbivores. The most feared enemies of a groundhog are wolves and fox. Groundhogs can whistle when in danger. (Gibbons, Gail) An interesting fact about them is that they are immune to germs and plauges. (The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club) These furry creatures are found in the United States and Canada. they live in burrows. (Gibbons, Gail) Groundhogs can remove up to 700 pounds of soil in a day to make their 25 foot deep burrows. These animals can grow up to be 2 feet (Buzzle.com) ,can weigh between 5 and 15 pounds (Gibbons, Gail) and have a life span of 6 to 8 years. (The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club) They have four toes on the front foot and have five toes on the back foot. (Buzzle.com) These animals hibernate in the winter. (Gibbons, Gail)

II.   Holiday Beginnings

You might be wondering, well where did Groundhog Day start? It started about 1500 years ago with a religious event called Candlemas.  Candlemas was when Europeans walked with candles by the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Then these Europeans moved to Pennsylvania with their traditions and customs. The most important tradition they brought with them was predicting the weather by looking at animals. Soon, this became a yearly tradition in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. (Gibbons, Gail) The first official “forecast” in Gobblers Knob was on February the 2, 1887. (The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club)

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III.   The Holiday Itself

Groundhog Day is an interesting holiday. It grew out of old beliefs and customs. One custom is that Europeans cleaned their houses and got ready for spring. Later, the Europeans moved to Pennsylvania with one tradition of looking at animals like bears to predict the weather. (Gibbons, Gail) In 1886, Clymer Freas said Groundhog Day would officially be February second. Punxsutawney Pennsylvania became the official city where the “forecast” would be made. (Nobleman, Marc T.) The groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, is kept in a normal burrow under a stage and a fake tree stump. At exactly 7:25 a.m. on February second, Phil is taken out of his burrow to predict the weather. If Phil sees his shadow, there will be more winter. If he does not see his shadow,

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there will be an early spring. You just have to keep in mind that this is all pretend and just for fun. (Gibbons, Gail)

IV.    Groundhog Predictors Around North America

There are a lot of groundhogs that predict the weather although Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous. Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the weather in Pennsylvania for over 120 years. (Gibbons, Gail) Punxsutawney Phil is named after King Phillip and the city Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania.  Phil drinks from the “elixir of life” every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it gives him seven more years of life. (The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club) Other famous weather predicting

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groundhogs are Jimmy in Wisconsin, Staten Island Chuck, Sir Walter Willy, General Lee, Shubenachie, Undilla Willie (Gibbons, Gail), Birmingham Bill in the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama, Malverne Mel in New York, and the strangest of all, a craw fish named Claude in Louisiana. (Nobleman, Marc T.)

I love Groundhog Day! Throughout writing this report, I realized there is really no point in Groundhog Day. It is just all for fun. I did not know that there are other groundhogs that predict the weather. (even a craw fish!) I would still like to know a bit more about Candlemas and more about that craw fish named Claude. Even if Groundhog Day is not

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the most serious holiday, it is still  very fun to learn about.


Source List

1) Gibbons, Gail. Groundhog Day! New York : Holiday House, 2007

2) “Groundhog Day” The Official Website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. 2011.   The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. 6 Jan. 2011 <http://www.groundhog.org/groundhog-day/about-groundhog-day/>

3) Nobleman, Marc T. Groundhog Day Minneapolis Minnesota : Compass Point Books, 2005
4) “Groundhog Day” The Official Website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. 2011. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. 13 Jan. 2011 <http://www.groundhog.org/groundhog-day/fun-facts/

5) “Buzzle.com” Intelligent Life on the Web. 2000-2010, 2011. Buzzle. 14 Jan. 2011 <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/facts-about-groundhogs.html>