Object: Groundhog - Woodchuck

Image Credits

Woodchuck (Arctomys monax) from the viviparous quadrupeds of North America (1845) illustrated by John Woodhouse Audubon (1812-1862), Wikimedia Commons

Object Type(s)

The Grounghog - symbol of the current celebration of Groundhog day on February 2nd annually, was common to New Netherland.   Hunted for fur and food by the Native Americans and the European Settlers, and eventually becoming part of the annual celebration of the coming of spring and the end of winter hiberation.        

Groundhog Day has its roots in ancient pagan celebrations that fall on February 2 or very near the same day as Christians from antiquity celebrated both the Presentation in the Temple, and Lady Day, the purification of the Virgin Mary at the end of the postpartum period.

New Amsterdam  created the first Court of Burgomasters and Schepens on February 2, 1653, and this date is still commemorated by New York City as the beginning of New York history as a municipality.