Chili is the ultimate people-pleaser, but it’s also the ultimate cook-off dish. Family recipes are guarded like crown jewels, and secret ingredients are never spoken of above a whisper. And the debates about what makes true chili — beans or no beans? —are fierce! But these are all part of what makes chili such an experience. When chili is being served — perhaps with some chopped onions and shredded cheese on top — everyone comes to the table.
Children’s book author Ruth Spiro came up with the idea of National Bubble Gum Day as a way for kids to raise money for school activities without having to sell anything. On February 5, kids can “buy” the usually forbidden privilege of chewing gum in class if they make a donation of 50 cents. While there might be some distractions in class — like smacking and bubble-blowing — kids learn about the value of charity and schools make a little money for the causes they support. Oh, and kids also get one day to break the classic “no-gum” rule.
Groundhog Day 2021 is Punxsutawney Phil’s 135th prognostication! It has turned into a time for the country to either be happy or be mad with a rodent. Legend has it, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter are headed our way. If Phil doesn’t see his shadow, supposedly spring will come early.
The groundhog tradition comes from Candlemas Day with early Christians in Europe. Clergy would bless candles and pass them to the people. An old English song says similar things to our current groundhog statements:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
Supposedly, the Romans brought this tradition to the Germans that concluded if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, thus predicting more winter.
Since Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs to resemble the European hedgehog, the tradition moves to groundhogs in America.