Groundhog Day 2017

I am the only person I know in Maine who celebrates Groundhog Day. That is, the only person who throws a party every year on Groundhog Day. I have cultivated some Groundhog Day acolytes who show up to said party year after year and put up with my shenanigans. But as far as inspiring others to throw Groundhog Day parties of their own, I have been woefully inadequate.

Still, every year the decorations come up right after New Year’s. We have quite the collection these days: two signs with Groundhog Day quotes on them, 2 stuffed groundhogs, 1 groundhog hand puppet, a styrofoam groundhog head, several beanie babies, and drawings by the kids. People keep sending groundhog themed things my way, knowing my love of the day.

Why do I celebrate it? Why in the world *not*? It’s a day that I can celebrate however I want. It has no conflicts with other days (except the occasional Superbowl Sunday, but groundhogs love football, so that’s okay). It comes at a time when you need any reason to celebrate you can think of. It’s an excuse to watch a movie and get together. It’s funny.

It’s great.

I’ve been trying to come up with how many times I’ve actually been celebrating the holiday. The film came out in 1993 (ironically, a week and a half after Groundhog Day). I saw it in the theater, as I recall, but it’s not like that marks the start of a holiday tradition. The question is when did I start watching it every year? And I don’t know the answer.

My love for the holiday came from two intersecting points: The movie was awesome, and I really disliked Valentines Day. I remember my freshman year of college telling people that I didn’t celebrate Valentines Day, but rather Groundhog Day, instead. So I think we’ll count that as my official start of a real holiday. A lot of people discover things about themselves when they go to college. I discovered a holiday tradition.

So February 1997 was the first year, followed by a two year hiatus while I was on my mission in Germany. February 2000 I was definitely back at it, and Denisa joined the ranks for February 2001. That means that this year is my nineteenth year. I’ve celebrated in Utah nine times. This is my tenth year celebrating in Maine!

The way I’ve celebrated has changed from year to year. I’ve done family parties. Friend parties. Superbowl parties. Murder mystery parties. Movie parties. We’ve had dinner served. Snacks served. Desserts served. We’ve had Groundhog Games of Skill for the last long while, and those have included quizzes, drawing contests, a haiku contest, sculpture contests, and more. This year we’re doing a white elephant exchange (groundhog themed, of course.)

Really, whatever I come up with and want to do one year, I do. Sometimes it connects to years gone by. Sometimes it doesn’t. I heartily recommend the approach. While I think everyone should celebrate Groundhog Day, I realize not everyone sees the point. But I do believe everyone should pick a day and make that day their own. Maybe you’re more of a Flag Day sort of a person. Or a National Chocolate Covered Raisin gal. Whatever speaks to you, make it your own.

You’ll have a blast.

Happy Groundhog Day, everybody! May all your Punxsutawneys be filled and your winters be repetitive and long.

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