The humble groundhog… one might wonder why such a critter warrants its own special day. After all, there are only 365.25 days in a year to go around. Here in the U.S. Martin Luther King gets a day; Presidents Washington and Lincoln share a day. Mothers, Fathers, and Veterans each get a day. We set aside a day for the flag, and another day for the earth. We memorialize those who have died for our freedom on Memorial Day, and those who struggled for labor rights on Labor Day.
While not specific enough to pencil in on the calendar, I suppose we do talk about the dog days of summer. There are a handful of Saints whose fame or notoriety have garnered them a day in the secular calendar – Saints Patrick and Valentine come to mind here. In this latter case I am sympathetic to the argument that neither of these Saints is actually championed by the masses, their days being more an excuse to parade in the streets, consume alcohol, and practice excessive consumerism for chocolate, greeting cards, and assorted other treats to share with that significant other.
I have heard that our British cousins have given over a special day for a home grown terrorist – Guy Fawkes. A different brand of terrorists to England – or patriots if you prefer the US version of history – get memorialized in the U.S. on Independence Day.
I also heard just last week that the kindergarten class had a Pastel Day. The teacher was introducing the concept of color and even made an art project where the children were given those big colored chalk bars to draw designs in pastel shades. Little Johnny drew a big capital M on his sheet of paper, then set down his chalk and stared out the window. Bemused, the teacher asked Johnny for the significance of his rendering. And Johnny answered, “Duh, in the alphabet M is the first letter pastel.”
So having a day named for you can be quite special, or quite superfluous. Still I wonder, why the humble groundhog?
But hey, if you’re a groundhog – have a great day!