Traditionally those in the United States and Canada associate Groundhog Day with February 2nd, and it consists of the eponymous animal emerging from his burrow and making a weather prediction. Unsurprisingly, the cultural roots of this North American holiday lie in their mother island of the U.K.
Indeed, to ancient Britons every February was a time for great speculation. The name of the holiday comes from the Norse term grisa, -de, -t — (1) What a sow does when she gets piglets. (2) To behave like a pig, typically in conjunction to a party. The residents of each village in Southwestern England near Wales would spend all of February holding rudimentary boxing tournaments amongst eligible young men. The worst fighter would then be put into a pit, unarmed, with the largest wild boar that the villagers could find.
The ensuing fight would have profound importance to the morale of the tribe. If the boar was victorious – as was overwhelmingly the case – the village would celebrate, and consider it a sacrifice to nature. The Britons believed that it would be the precursor for a strong growing season. On the very rare occasion that the poor fighter managed to subdue the boar, he would be given all of the alcoholic beverages in the village and told to dance until he passed out.
An amendment to the healthcare bill to bring back this tradition was proposed by a coalition of Democratic and Republican Congressmen and is the focus of Barack Obama’s Healthcare Summit. Proponents say it will help fix American crop yields, while opponents say it doesn’t do enough and should be far more extreme.