The Governor’s Proclamation

It is the custom in the United States of America that state governors issue proclamations to note special days, weeks, or months, and the reason for their designation. Here is the draft of one such proclamation to be issued tomorrow.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

A Proclamation

His Excellency Governor Deval L. Patrick

Whereas, it is a tradition among the peoples of the world to look for signs of the approaching spring, particularly after this darned polar vortex; and

Seriously, we're celebrating this varmint?

Seriously, we’re celebrating this varmint?

Whereas, the traditional way to do this is to observe the humble groundhog’s rising on the second day of February, to see if he sees his shadow; and

Whereas, we owe this observance to a pagan tradition that dates back decades to some money-grubbing Pennsylvanians looking for a lame tourist attraction; and

Whereas, the Commonwealth has its own groundhogs, who are perfectly capable of forecasting the coming of spring, insofar as a pesky rodent can do so.

Now, Therefore, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim February 2, 2014, to be

Groundhog Day

And urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance (though reminding them that while it is not technically groundhog hunting season, we’ll look the other way, just this once).

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this second day of February, in the year two thousand and fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

By His Excellency

Deval L. Patrick
Governor of the Commonwealth

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth

God Save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


About Brian Bixby

I enjoy history because it helps me understand people. I'm writing fiction for much the same reason.
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11 Responses to The Governor’s Proclamation

  1. E. J. Barnes says:

    Gotta get those hogs ground for ground hog day.

  2. crimsonprose says:

    So is that the origin. I thought, despite the very American rodent, it might have arisen amongst the early Celtic immigrants, the 2nd of February being one of the Celtic quarter days, ‘Im Bolg’: the celebration of the ewes’ lactation (which I’ve always thought was a strange reason to celebrate).

    • Brian Bixby says:

      I gather the actual origin is unclear, with Im Bolg being one theory, a German tradition that survived in Pennsylvania yet another possibility. I wrote this in part as a humorous response to a post on the Streets of Salem blog which mentioned how some Americans double-dated things in terns of the Christian Era and the years since Independence. It so happens that several states, including Massachusetts, use this double dating in their official proclamations.

  3. danagpeleg1 says:

    Yay! Here’s for pesky li’l rodents!

    • Brian Bixby says:

      Oddly enough, I’ve seen only one in “the wild” at close quarters, a juvenile who hung out by our woodpile when we lived in Groton, Massachusetts. Had to get rid of it, as the family dog was a far too trusting a creature that would have been hurt trying to be friendly with it.

  4. danagpeleg1 says:

    Do they only live in the East Coast? I will never forget the big smily gopher Boaz and I once found in a field by UCSC. It looked like a character from an old Disney movie…

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