Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

February 1, 2013

Let the celebration begin

As I write this, I am anxiously awaiting an important day in most American's lives. I'm looking forward to the parties and the cheers but am also wondering, as most are; who will win? Who will lose? I can't wait for the day to arrive!

There's always the big build up; the opening ceremonies, the speculation, the party preparation. It's an exciting time for all of us.

Then suddenly, the time has arrived! The cheers are deafening as the players take the field. The excitement is palpable in the air.

All predictions thus far are for a win for the winter to be short and spring to be early. The forecasts calls for overcast weather and that means that Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow and therefore ...

Wait, what? You thought I was talking about something else? What?

Oh, right. There's some kind of big football game coming up. I forgot about that. No, I'm talking about Groundhog's Day, of course. What could be more exciting than Groundhog's Day?

Okay, you got me. I really don't give a rip about Groundhog's Day. I've always wondered who first thought of sitting around waiting for a bucked-toothed rodent to poke his head out of the ground and why they thought it had anything to do with spring.

It turns out Groundhog's Day is kind of like a fruitcake. It's a convoluted mess with bits and pieces of several old beliefs chopped up and mixed together to form a new belief.

Belief number one comes to us from the Delaware Indians who believed that "their forebears began life as animals in Mother Earth and emerged centuries later to hunt and live as men." The "Wojak" or woodchuck, a.k.a. groundhog, was believed to be their ancestral grandfather.

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