Monday, February 2, 2009

Gus What We Did

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While we all look forward to Groundhog Day on February 2nd and the forecast for an early spring from the two greatest weatherhogs on the planet - Wiarton Willie in Wiarton, Ontario and Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the truth behind this 200 year-old tradition is oftentimes forgotten.

Long before the advent of Groundhog Day on February 2nd,  the Romans observed a similar event thousands of years ago on the exact same day. Rather than use the North American groundhog, the Romans used the hedgehog.

“If during hibernation, he (the hedgehog) looks out of his den on 2nd February and sees his shadow it means there is a clear moon and six more weeks of winter so he returns to his burrow.”

The only difference between this ancient event and the present day version (aside from the hedgehog, of course) is the fact that the Romans would look to see if the hedgehog saw its shadow under a clear moon at night.

Here in North America, where we have no indigenous species of hedgehog, we replaced the hedgehog with the native groundhog.  To this day “Punxsutawney Phil” and “Wiarton Willie” battle it out to see who is the better weather forecaster, but little do they or their handlers know that the original prognosticator of spring was a hedgehog.

See: www.hedgehogcentral.com

Today (because we are big nerds) we celebrated a bit of the old tradition.   We made a hedgehog cake in honor of Groundhog Day. 

02 02 09_0478  

02 02 09_0479

We named him Gus short for Augustus in honor of his Roman heritage.  I don’t know, but I think we have all grown too found of him to slice him up and eat him.  I wonder if Duff from Ace of Cakes ever has this dilemma?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be glad to slice him up he looks SOOOO GOOOD!!! Good job Lutes Family, you rock!!!

Smart Helm said...

Wow, I'm way impressed. If you need any help killing him, I'd be glad to offer my services.

:-)

Holyoak Family said...

It is official, I don't think we can be friends anymore. Too cute. While you were giving your kids a fun history lesson, I was chewing gum ( on our blog-very gross) who is the better mom here???? Love ya!!!

Eliza said...

So cute! I totally forgot that it was groundhogs (hedgehog) day and since it is now the day after I feel jiped that I missed it. I guess I should have read your blog sooner.

I love Ace of Cakes too!

RMason said...

Great Post, Shawna! I enjoyed the history lesson.

Shawna said...

Thanks everyone. Just so you know he did get sliced up and eaten. We had to start at the back until someone ate his eyes.