Pennsylvania German Groundhog Lodges

The groundhog, an indigenous creature of North America, has been associated for centuries with the Pennsylvania German tradition of weather prognostication.

In fact, the tradition of using an animal for weather prognostication was introduced here in America by the first German immigrants who had participated in a similiar European tradition for centuries. However, since groundhogs did not exist in a European enivronment, the badger was the chosen creature.

Plans for the first groundhog lodge was finalized at a private Fersommling (Gathering) on April 3, 1933, at the Keystone Trail Inn in Allentown, Pa. The lodge was to meet annually on Groundhog Day, February 2.

Pennsylvania German men were to gather on this day, not only to hear the groundhog make its annual weather prognostication, but also to enjoy an evening of dialect fellowship aimed at instilling pride in their ethnic inheritance. Besides Pennsylvania German food, there were to be dialect songs, stories, speeches, skits, and reminiscing with regard to ethnic traditions and customs.

At that meeting in Allentown, 13 men were selected to the board of directors. Since Pennsylvania Germans are extremely superstitious in their beliefs and ways, the number 13 seemed to be ideally suited for the board. That number has never been changed.

Today there are 17 lodges and a Grossdaddi (Grandfather) Grundsow Lodge. The Grossdaddi Grundsow Lodge has conducted classes for learning the Pennsylvania German dialect, and is assisting the devlopment of a Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center and museum on the campus of Kutztown University, Kutztown, Pa.
For further information you can contact

Haaptman Carl D Snyder
6760 Rt.#309
New Tripoli, Pa 18066

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