It’s Fancy Badger Day!
Early this morning, Seymour Seemore, our own Fancy Badger, was unceremoniously dragged from his burrow and delivered his annual spring prediction by failing to mention the weather at all. Instead, he threw it over to Matt Lepay for today’s sports highlights, groused briefly that he couldn’t believe Aaron Rogers had left Samuel wide open in the middle of the field after the two-minute warning, and then turned to angrily maul his terrified handlers. A good time was had by all!
The Grand Tradition
One of the most important holidays celebrated in the United States is, of course, Ausgefallener Dachstag (literally “Fancy Badger Day” or “Groundhog Day” as the Pennsylvania Dutch persist in referring to it.) While we all love the fond traditions associated with the day—feasting on mushrooms, doing ten-hour group aerobics classes and panicking at the sight of snakes—few know the true history behind this sacred annual observance.
The True History of Fancy Badger Day
This event actually originated not in Pennsylvania but began centuries ago as folklore in Germany and featured a badger as the authoritative weather-forecasting wild animal (though different regions had their own inferior variations such as a bear, a ram, or even a Viking depending on which sports franchise they followed.)
Accept No Substitutes
When huge numbers of German immigrants came to the United States in the latter part of the 19th century, they attempted to bring this tradition with them, but no qualified badgers were to be found anywhere in their strange new home. Pennsylvania has always suffered from a chronic badger shortage, and so the tearful immigrants were forced to substitute the traditional badger with the common groundhog, an animal with limited meteorological expertise as borne out by his embarrassing 39% success rate.
Badgers Love to Talk Smack
To this day, Badgers enjoy pointing out that flipping a coin is statistically more accurate for weather prediction than the groundhog’s frankly humiliating record at it, frequently adding that it’s just sad, really. In stark contrast, the weather predictions of Fancy Badgers boast an astounding accuracy rate of 99%, and that is why they are banned from gambling at every single casino in Vegas.
Continuing the Grand Tradition in Wisconsin
All of us at Soda Sense live and work here in Wisconsin (The Badger State, natch), in the sun-kissed splendor of Seymour, Wisconsin*, a small town originally founded by Soda Sense in the 19th century and heavily populated, like much of Wisconsin, with Dutch and German immigrants. As you might expect, we in Seymour hew much more closely to the original February wild-animal-weather-forecasting tradition where we annually celebrate Ausgefallener Dachstag by waiting with bated breath to see what the Fancy Badger has in store for us:
What Will the Fancy Badger Do?
• If the Fancy Badger doesn’t see his shadow, then we have six more weeks of winter while he looks for it.
• If the Badger does see his shadow, he worries that it makes him look fat, gets depressed, eats a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake ice cream, and we will have an early spring.
• If the Fancy Badger fails to comment on the weather at all and instead throws it over to Matt Lepay for today’s sports highlights, then we will have an early spring but no will care because the Packers once again didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this year.
Print out and save this story to use as a reference for a future history essay for school!
*For more on Seymour, Wisconsin’s fascinating history, read Seymour: An Introduction, a fond tribute to our fair city written by building-construction enthusiast J.D. Salinger as part of this DIY homebuilding guide, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters.