The focus on this day is forecasting of either an early spring or a lingering winter. Many years ago a bear brought the forecast to the people of France and England, while those in Germany looked to a badger for a sign. In the 1800s, German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought their legends with them. Finding no badgers but lots of groundhogs, or woodchucks, there, they adapted it to fit the lore. Today that lore has grown into a full-blown festival, with Punxsutawney Phil presiding. If the groundhog sees his shadow today, winter will return.
Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday
Mardi Gras is French for "fat Tuesday" -- the final feasting before the fasting of Lent, which begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. In many Latin countries, Mardi Gras is the culmination of the carnival season of revelry and feasting. Among the Pennsylvania Dutch, this day is Fasnach (fast night), and everyone enjoys the traditional fasnachtkuchen, a rectangular doughnut with a slit in the middle.
John Deere (farm equipment)
February 7, 1804
Henry E. Steinway (pianos)
February 15, 1797
Levi Strauss (jeans)
February 26, 1829
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Where did we get the practice of shaking hands?
From the Latin word februa, "to cleanse." The Roman Februalia was a month of purification.