Groundhog day is firmly entrenched in our folklore. While closely identified with Pennsylvania German culture (Grundsaudaag), it is widely celebrated throughout the US and Canada (Jour de la Marmotte). As with most folklore, the origins are obscure, but clearly it is an important event in celebrating the German culture, the language, and history in Pennsylvania.
The 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” provided more widespread attention to the day and has cemented Punxsutawney Pennsylvania as its headquarters. (As an aside, through Hollywood sleight of hand, the movie was filmed in Woodstock Illinois, not Pennsylvania).
Strangely enough, the movie used Groundhog day as a backdrop but its essence had little to do with the celebration.
The movie was about “do overs” and getting things right. People who have paid far more attention to the movie details than I have estimate that there were 10 – 50 years of repeated Groundhog Days until Phil “got it right”.
To return back to the convention and the Bishop’s words that launched our pilgrimage:
“with God as our composer and conductor will make all the difference.
Will we build tabernacles or golden calves? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
But the good news is that we can always start again”
Bishop Sean Rowe, 2015 Diocesan Convention
So it appears that our pilgrimage is also about false steps, wrong turns, and “do overs”