Rodents, Rabbits and Weirdness

The big thing today was Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog in Pennsylvania that is supposed to tell us whether we will have six more weeks of winter. For the record, the groundhog indeed said we will freeze our tushes off for six more weeks. Such a shock.

OK, I’m probably too literal and a killjoy, but why do we make a big deal out of this every year? Isn’t is a little bizarre to expect a woodchuck  in Pennsylvania to make long range weather forecasts? Does this thing have access to complex computer models in his little hole in the ground? And why does this groundhog get most of the glory, and the responsibility of making a forecast. Aren’t other woodchucks just as smart?

And where does his forecast cover? Does a woodchuck in Pennsylvania know what the weather is going to be like in Vermont six weeks from now?  Besides, there is always at least six weeks of winter in Vermont after Feb. 2.

There are other American traditions that are at least as bizarre as Groundhog Day. The concept of the Easter Bunny, for instance, seems borne from a bad acid trip in the 1960s. A weird rabbit sneaks around the house and hides hard boiled eggs. Why?

The Easter Bunny has to do with springtime fertility, apparently, and rabbits, well, they do it like rabbits. So that’s sort of where it came from. But going from celebrating  fertility to making bratty kids search high and low for soon-to-be rotten eggs seems like a stretch.

Interestingly, both Groundhog Day and the Easter Bunny have their roots in German folklore, and both gained a toehold in America by first becoming popular in Pennsylvania, which had a lot of German immigrants.

The stereotype of Germans is that, Oktoberfest notwithstanding, they are efficient, serious and kind of gray. Then again, my experience with people of German ancestry doesn’t match the stereotype at all. In any event,  the Germans are responsible for two of the trippiest traditions in America.

Who’d a thunk.

2 Responses to “Rodents, Rabbits and Weirdness”

  1. Denis Says:

    i never know what i’ll learn from you next. whatever the subject it is always interesting. the things you know boggles my mind.

  2. mattalltrades Says:

    Thanks Denis!
    Of course, the dirty little secret is some of the info in the post I didn’t know until today. I got curious and looked it up. Guess I’m just curious about everything.

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