That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

How Groundhog Day Saved Christianity

with 8 comments

The movie Groundhog Day further secularized this special day.

The movie Groundhog Day further secularized this special day.

Reposted with permission:

Like many people this season I enjoyed the heartwarming story of how Christianity’s message was spread using the Christmas Carrol The Twelve Days of Christmas.  There are a lot of seemingly secular holidays and traditions in our society that have a Christian tradition behind them.  In the middle ages Christians throughout Europe were persecuted and in many countries the teaching of Christian doctrine was forbidden.  The Christians of the time being men and women of good faith looked for a way to pass the story of Christ’s resurrection down to their children.

The day which the Europeans called Candlemas Day was full of symbolism.  For those of you that need a refresher, on February 2nd the groundhog comes out of his burrow and looks around.  If he sees his shadow there will be 6 more weeks of winter.  If not there will be an early Spring.  This story was used to teach children of how Christ exited the tomb after 40 days.  Those 40 days are represented by the 6 weeks.  The shadow represents the shadow of sin.  Of course Spring represents the new life that Jesus calls us all to.

I suppose the obvious question is why a groundhog?  The groundhog was chosen because the European groundhog is considered a noble animal and the combination of white and gray fur can sometimes give the appearance of a robe like Jesus’s burial robes.  Also, the early Christians needed an animal that hibernated and the only two animals native to Europe that hibernate are the bear and the groundhog and you sure wouldn’t want to be waking up a bear for this.

For many centuries, European Christians used this holiday on February 2nd to keep their faith alive in the face of great persecution.  When the earliest settlers came to Pennsylvania they brought Candlemas with them.  Unfortunately, much like in our own times there was a battle over Candlemas between those for whom it was a sacred religious holiday and those who wanted to call it Groundhog Day and remove all religious significance from the day.  Sadly, Groundhog Day won that war and much of Candlemas’s religious significance was lost.   My goal is this year to remind everybody of the religious significance of Candlemas.

[On his special day please take a moment to thank the noble groundhog for how he kept our Christian tradition alive through centuries of persecution in Europe.  With the secular forces taking the religions out of so many of our holidays, maybe we can put the religion back into this one.  Please pass this on to any Christian friends who await the eternal light in this bleak and dreary time]


Written by thatsrightnate

February 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm

8 Responses

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  1. How do we know for sure that a groundhog has actually seen his/her shadow? Is the groundhog questioned afterwards? How do we know that the groundhog wasn’t simply looking for food, and just looks like it is seeing it’s shadow? I wasn’t aware of the religious connection. I would ask my priest, but you just can’t go questioning church doctrine (did Jesus really rise from the dead? Did Moses really part the Red Sea, Did the Groundhog really see his shadow?). I don’t know. I’m at a loss. Nate, help me out! How do we know if a groundhog really saw it’s shadow? Or should we just accept it as Church Doctrine?


    February 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm

  2. I believe it is a matter of faith.


    February 2, 2009 at 7:13 pm

  3. oops! i hadn’t seen this re-posting (by popular demand, i have no doubt) and sent you a candlemas greeting on your previous post.

    thank you for once again acknowledging this important religious holiday! as usual, the secular mainstream media has chosen to focus exclusively on the roly-poly pennsylvania rodent.

    let’s put the candle back in candlemas day!


    February 2, 2009 at 8:29 pm

  4. Thanks for your insight, Nate! It seems like the Pope should be doing something to aid people in their time of need, but I didn’t hear him mention a thing about Candlemas/Groundhog Day. It seems like I hear him say something about Christmas and Easter every year, and then maybe a token statement about the evils of condoms…but what about Candlemas? Is he too busy for the Lord’s favorite rodent, the common groundhog (also known as the also known as the woodchuck, land beaver or whistlepig)? Nate, have you considered running for Pope?


    February 2, 2009 at 10:43 pm

  5. Yes: Nate for Pope! I mean, does he really have to be Catholic? Those dogmas are so old…
    I loved this post, Nate, and I’ll mention it on my blog. This is one of those that make me laugh out loud. And as I’ve mentioned before, it even made my hubby laugh. If that isn’t like resurrecting the dead, I don’t know what is…


    February 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

  6. “Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You’re hypocrites! All of ya!” -Groundhog Day


    February 3, 2009 at 9:32 pm

  7. I don’t believe eating the groundhog is part of the original European tradition. I think that is an American thing.

    I will not run for Pope. If drafted I will not accept. It is far too Catholic a position for me.


    February 4, 2009 at 6:25 am

  8. nice! i’m gonna make my own blog

    Pissing Guard

    August 4, 2009 at 12:41 am

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