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CDC Offers Tips to Celebrate a Safer Ground Hog Day

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Groundhog Day falls on February 2 in the United States, coinciding with Candlemas.  Ground hog day coverage is the second most read after Festivus  . It is a part of popular culture among many Americans and it centers on the idea of the groundhog coming out of its home to “predict” the weather. Even though Groundhog Day is not a public holiday. Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town has attracted thousands of visitors over the years to experience various Groundhog Day events and activities on February 2.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club plays an important role in organizing Groundhog Day in the town. Club members, news reporters, locals, and visitors meet at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2 each year to await Phil’s appearance and his weather prediction. Pennsylvania’s governor has been known to attend Groundhog Day ceremonies. Many weather researchers questioned the groundhog’s accuracy in predicting the weather, but some of the groundhog’s fans may not agree.

Although the tradition has been around since 1887  and the tradition claims that if the groundhog, in this case Punxsutawney Phil, sees his shadow the forecast calls for six more weeks of winter. If he does not, spring is rapidly approaching and we can all celebrate the end of the gloomy winter months.

The Groundhog Day tradition has its roots in Pennsylvania Dutch culture. In some German-speaking cultures, like the Pennsylvania Dutch, the badger is a forecasting animal, a belief that Punxsutawney Phil can thank for his cushy job. But some sources even credit this belief back to traditions surrounding Candlemas, a Christian Holy Day that falls on February 2. One of the superstitions surrounding this holiday is that clear weather on Candlemas means a drawn out winter.

This year the CDC says everyone can make holiday celebrations safer:
Wear a mask

Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect others and yourself.
Wear your mask over your nose and mouth, secure it under your chin, and make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face.
Wear a mask indoors and outdoors.
In cold weather, wear your mask under your scarf, ski mask, or balaclava.
Keep a spare mask in case your mask becomes wet from moisture in your breath or from snow or rain.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you

Indoors or outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
Remember that people without symptoms or with a recent negative test result can still spread COVID-19 to others.

Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces

As much as possible, avoid crowds and indoors spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.

Wash your hands

Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating.

Make sure to dry your hands completely using a clean towel or by air drying.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.

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