February 2nd is Groundhog Day. On that day, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow, sees its shadow, and scurries back to its den, it is said that we can expect six more weeks of winter. If not, then spring will come early. Thanks to the eponymous 1993 movie starring Bill Murray, festivities celebrating the day have become quite popular. The biggest one takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home of the legendary Punxsutawney Phil. (This is also the place where the tradition originated back in the 1880s.) However, the initial celebration, called “the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club,” involved large groups of visitors prowling the hillsides, hunting the groundhogs for dinner
The club was the brainchild of a local newspaper editor named Clymer Freas. Back then, the train from Pittsburgh passed through Punxsutawney to reach a nearby coal plant, and locals wanted a way to make people stop, instead of just passing through. Freas began using flashy descriptions for the groundhog hunts, hoping to draw larger crowds. The tradition morphed into an over-the-top weather forecast soon, and in 1886, Punxsutawney Phil became the Weather Prophet.
Isaac Newton (who was born in 1642—the same year Galileo died) believed he was potentially part of a line of great men to receive great and ancient wisdom. He even created a special name for himself — “Jehovah Sanctus Unus,” or “to Jehovah, the Holy One.”
The “O” before an Irish name, such as “O’Reilly,” means “descendant of.”
A group of penguins in the water is called a “raft;” on land, that same group is called a “waddle.” Penguins have a very fast metabolism; they poop about every 20 minutes.
A grasshopper’s ears are on its belly, nots head.
F In 1717, John Law (the highly respected head of France’s private central bank) obtained a 25-year monopoly on trade and the development of Louisiana around the Mississippi River. In 17619, he came up with the idea of offering freedom to prisoners in Paris on the condition that they would marry a prostitute and move to Louisiana. The prisons of Paris were overflowing, and his company (the Mississippi Company) needed laborers.
Most perfume is made from sperm whale puke. The waxy secretion belched out by Sperm Whales (known ‘ambergris’) is a component to making perfumes because of its pleasant smell.
The Salto del Colacho (Jump of the Colacho) is celebrated each year in the small town of Castrillo de Murcia in Spain, is a week-long celebration dating back to the early 1600swhich culminates with a man dressed as a devil scaring locals and jumping over babies. Controversial as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the celebration is believed to cleanse the new-born of their original sin. After the Colacho has jumped over the babies, they are showered in rose petals and often blessed by the local priest before being collected by their parents. See a video of this bizarre and controversial celebration here: https://youtu.be/zheUrV2Bn-Y
Lake Hillier, on an island off the west coast of Australia lies is bright, bubble-gum pink! It’s not the only colored lake in the world, but it is the only one where scientists have not yet determined what causes it to be such a bright pink.
Artist Salvador Dalí would often get out of paying for drinks and meals by drawing on the checks he used to make payment. This, of course, made them priceless works of art and therefore they went uncashed.
The word ‘quarantine’ comes from the Venetian dialect of Italian and the words ‘quaranta giorni’, meaning ‘forty days’. This derives from the fact that when it was discovered that ships were infested with plague-carrying rats, they had to sit at anchor outside Venice’s city walls for forty days before coming ashore.
The word ‘almost’ is the longest word in English with all of its letters in alphabetical order.