You would think that Groundhog Day is a singularly American holiday, steeped as it is in Local Color, Historical Tradition, and More Than A Little Utter Silliness. Think about it: a day on which a giant marmot is expected to predict the weather based on its paranoid reaction to Conditions of Illumination. And as if Punxsutawney Phil weren’t enough, down here in Georgia we have our own General Beauregard Lee to do the predictin’ honors. Gaaah.
But, ridiculous as Groundhog Day may be, we Americans don’t hold the patent on silly-ass animal-based holidays. Herewith, for your delectation, I am pleased to present an overview of…
Groundhog Day Observances Around the World
The Canadian equivalent of Groundhog Day is Muskrat Day, March 1. If “Inuvituk Izzie” sees his shadow, no maple syrup may be consumed until the Queen’s Birthday.
Domestik-Schweinestag is observed on March 15. A randomly-selected domesticated pig is taken outside. If it sees its shadow and squeals, it is promptly slaughtered, smoked, and eaten in the form of Rauch-Schinken (smoked bacon) to prevent malevolent Teutonic spirits from lodging in people’s hair.
Tanzanians celebrate Banana Slug Day on July 10. If Blinky the Banana Slug does not return to his habitation promptly after being coaxed from it, people refrain from eating bananas for six weeks. At the same time, they are encouraged to slug one another repeatedly and without obvious provocation.
The closest Indian equivalent of Groundhog Day is Cow Day, observed every freakin’ day of every year. If you see a cow, you are expected to get the hell out of its way. You are never expected to eat the cow. By observing Cow Day properly, Indians are assured of having twelve months of suffocating humidity, heat, and monsoons. As usual.
Know of any other interesting international holiday traditions? Leave a comment and tell us all about ’em!