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Category: Don Yoder

A groundhog

Groundhog Day: Ancient Origins of a Modern Celebration

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Most of us know the tradition: on February 2, our old friend the groundhog will emerge from hibernation, come out of his den, and predict whether winter will deliver more cold weather this year. If the groundhog sees his shadow, the story goes, cold weather will persist another few weeks. If not, warm weather is around the corner. If you like the folklore of holidays, you may be interested to know that Groundhog Day is related to two of the other holidays we have written about extensively on this blog: Halloween and Mayday. In this post, we'll look at the ancient origins of the Groundhog Day tradition in Celtic and Germanic culture. We'll also present two fun groundhog songs from AFC collections, and links to further reading and exploration of this seasonal observance.

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Don Yoder (1921-2015): The Man Who Put the “Life” in “Folklife”

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Did you ever wonder why U.S. government institutions like the Library of Congress use the word “folklife” rather than the more common “folklore?” Largely, we can thank the influence of Don Yoder, the eminent Pennsylvania folklorist, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 93. Long before the founding of the Library of Congress’s American …