Pennsylvania is home to some of the most famous groundhogs in the world.
Punxsutawney, PA is home to the most famous weather-forecasting rodent of them all, Punxsutawney Phil. Our TV’s are graced by the lottery ticket peddling Gus, the second most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania.
Lebanon County is also home to some of its own groundhogs and unique Groundhog Day celebrations which will take place this Saturday.
Myerstown has been celebrating the holiday since 1981 with Uni, a stuffed groundhog. Uni will take a raft ride down the Tulpehocken Creek before making his way to Myerstown Community Park. The event starts at 8am and is put on by Union Kanaal Grundau Lodsch No. 17 with the ceremony conducted in Pennsylvania Dutch. Via Facebook, here’s one look at last year’s event.
For the second year, Mount Gretna’s festivities will center around Grady, a groundhog puppet. Grady will make his appearance at 10am, following a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Mt. Gretna Volunteer Fire Company.
Here’s video of Grady’s introduction last year by the Daily News:
Groundhog Day is a unique tradition (and a great movie) that, according to organizers of the famous Punxsutawney ceremony, can trace its roots back to a Christian holiday known as Candlemas Day, which involved taking candles to churches so they could be blessed.
Somewhere along the line, rodentia were introduced into the equation to liven things up.
Hedgehogs have the distinction of being the original choice of small, furry animal. When German settlers made their way to the United States (the Pennsylvania Dutch), they brought the tradition with them.
Due to Pennsylvania’s noticeable lack of hedgehog availability, groundhogs became the new stars of the holiday.