Happy Groundhog Day to All!

It’s here! It’s here! Groundhog Day at last! I’m sitting here from the comfort of my home, typing this to all of you. (Yes, I took the day off. Didn’t you?) I just wanted to take this moment to wish all of you a heartfelt Groundhog Day. May your winters be short, your mistakes few (and non-repeatable) and your friendships big. Today I’ll be celebrating yet again. Groundhog Games of Skill. A Woodchuck Feast. And–for its inaugural year (drum roll please)–Groundhog Day: The Interactive Movie Experience. How does one have an interactive movie experience? Well, simply follow these five rules as you watch the movie:

Groundhog Day:
The Interactive Movie Experience

1. Every time the name “Phil” is said, shout out “Phil!” and eat an animal cracker.
2. Every time “I Got You Babe” starts to play, sing along. (Lyrics: Then put your little hand in mine. There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb. I got you babe. I got you babe. I got you babe. Repeated ad nauseum.)
3. Every time the groundhog is on the screen, clap and cheer.
4. Every time Ned Ryerson appears on screen, shout “Bing!”
5. Every time the words “six more weeks of winter” are said, boo.

I imagine this will work much better with a large group than it would if there were only one or two of you watching. Depending on how it goes, I might add some more layers to this in the future.

And for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about–or why in the world I’d celebrate Groundhog Day like this, here’s a basic overview:

I’ve been celebrating Groundhog Day now for well over a decade. And when I say “celebrate”, I mean really get into it. Banners, balloons, parties–I probably do more for Groundhog Day than I do for any other day other than Christmas. Inevitably, when someone finds out the actual extend of my Groundhogocity, they ask me something along the lines of, “Are you taking your medication?”

So why Groundhog Day? I have a number of reasons.

First and foremost, Groundhog Day–to me–is all about fun. So many of the holidays we celebrate these days have Themes and Real Meanings. Sometimes it can be hard to really get in a festive mood when you know that you’re supposed to be thinking about how thankful you are, or how religious, or how patriotic. With Groundhog Day, there’s none of that pressure, and no traditions to get in the way. You don’t have to worry about your grandmother wondering why you didn’t come to her house for the holiday, or about scheduling conflicts with in-laws. It’s a day that you can celebrate how you want to. No questions asked.

But there’s another reason closely tied to this one: Valentine’s Day. I have never been a firm believer in V-Day. To me, it’s a holiday cooked up by retailers in a blatant ploy to sell more crap. There’s so much pressure if you’re in a relationship to “prove” how much you love your significant other. Ridiculous. For the first while, I would do anti-Valentine’s Day activities. I got my girlfriend a teddy bear, then made a noose for it and hung it from her closet, complete with a fake suicide note. I got another girl a copy of The Taming of the Shrew. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to me to be simply against something. I wanted to be for something, instead. Enter Groundhog Day. It’s just a little less than two weeks before V-Day, and you can celebrate it instead. Show your love to everyone throughout the year, and leave Valentine’s Day alone.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a lot of credit to one of the best films of all time. Groundhog Day the movie is one of those rare gems that gets better the more you watch it. For me, no Groundhog Day celebration is complete without a viewing of the film, because in a way, by watching the movie again and again, you end up getting a taste of Phil Connor’s experience. Add to that the messages of the film of redemption and optimism–plus a killer sense of humor–and what’s not to like?

In the end, I love Groundhog Day. I love having friends over and having a good time. Up here in Maine, it’s cold and dark in the winter–and when February rolls around, you start to feel like it’s at its coldest and darkest sometimes. The trifecta of holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s) are passed, and summer’s a long ways off. So why not have something else to look forward to? Something to tide you over until spring? My ultimate goal is to get Groundhog Day to the point that it’s a national holiday. I know that realistically that’s not going to happen, but still–if I can get as many people as possible so hooked on celebrating Groundhog Day that they feel compelled to continue the tradition . . . why not?

Happy Groundhog Day!

7 thoughts on “Happy Groundhog Day to All!”

  1. Love it!
    I’m going to link to your post on my blog, because it says it all. However, more description is needed about the Groundhog Games of Skill and Woodchuck Feast. Wish you’d given the idea about the interactive movie experience earlier, since we had to have our party on Saturday.
    BTW, hanging a teddy bear with a suicide note in a girlfriend’s closet? I hope she knew you very well already. Poor thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Darn! We had our celebration early (Saturday) so we missed the suggestions for making the film interactive. We’ll have to try that next year. We had great fun, though, and do agree that it should be a national holiday! Then we could have celebrated it today because everybody would have the day off. Have fun at your GHD party!!

  3. Thanks for the well-wishes! Hope you had a great G-Day, yourself. Which makes me wonder . . . do Australians mean “Groundhog Day” when they say g’day? Maybe it’s already a national holiday down under . . . ๐Ÿ™‚

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