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Forum posts for A note about Groundhog Day

The real story behind Groundhog day
Posted by Miguel on Feb 02, 2007

Not many people know that Groundhog day actually stems from Native American rituals which involved human sacrifice.

Many ancient tribes believed that unless a man's life is paid for by another man's, the majesty of the the ancient nature gods cannot be appeased and weather divination cannot occure. The usual chosen vessel for sacrifice was the portliest, most well-fed member of the tribe who would be ritually fed during the lean winter months with the choicest foods. They believed that the execution of such a portly person would be more pleasing to the immortal gods, who would then grant them the boon of a short winter; which is similar to the biblical tradition of sacrificing a fat lamb or oxen.

The victims neck would be cut and as he died the shaman would ask if he could see his own shadow, and if he saw his shadow, it meant the gods were displeased with the victim and winter would continue for another 3 moons. If he did not see his shadow it meant he was ready to join the gods and winter would be short, giving rise to a long planting and hunting season.

With the arrival of European explorers and settlers, and the conversion of many tribes into Christinanity, the practice of human sacrifice was predictably frowned upon. In time a fat groundhog came to be sacrificed, with the shaman using his empathic skills to determine if the creature could see its own shadow. By the late 19th century and the rise of the Victorian animal cruelty movement, groundhogs themselves were no longer allowed to be sacrificed and the entire ritual was turned into a secular tourist attraction which in Canada came to reside in Wiarton and in the United States, in Puxatawny.

Posted by phduffy on Feb 02, 2007
Where did you find that?

Posted by Miguel on Feb 02, 2007
I thought this was common knowledge?

Posted by Miguel on Feb 02, 2007
I actually got it from an old University of Waterloo History textbook: Barbaric First Nations RItuals: How They Offend Modern Sensibilities

Posted by phduffy on Feb 08, 2007
Go check out wikipedia.

Posted by Miguel on Feb 10, 2007
I just went there today to check it out and I can't believe its still up! I thought the editors were insane about deleting or trying to find references to any additions to articles....I wonder how long it will last.

Posted by Miguel on Mar 28, 2007
I will never trust wikipedia again...EVUHR!

My completely made up story about groundhog days origins is STILL up on wikipedia