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10 Annual Grundsau Lodsh fer Yunge
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
2019-02-07

            For the tenth year, the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center in Pennsburg hosted more than a dozen youngsters at their Grundsau Lodsh for Yunge (Groundhog

Natalie Kern and Burgundy Gahman attach their groundhog
whiskers as they prepare for the start of the program.

Lodge for the young), sharing a bit of the Pennsylvania-German heritage of the region.

            That fact that this year's event fell on Groundhog Day and the prodigious prognosticator gave a promise of an early spring, added some extra interest in the furry forecaster.

            Under the tutelage of Museum Educator Alyssa McQuinn, the "yunge" and about 20 accompanying adults learned a bit about the groundhog and how it got its' role in weather forecasting lore.

            Children also had a chance to meet a few of the members of the women's and

Alyssa McQuinn welcomes attendees to the 10th Annual

Grundsau fer Yunge.

men's Grundsau Lodsh's in our region.  There are a total of 17 such Lodsh's in Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, and Schuylkill counties.

            The attendees listened as McQuinn explained that the immigrating Germans used to watch a badger in their home country for signs of an early spring.  However, when they came to Pennsylvania in the 1700's there were no badgers, so they substituted a woodchuck (groundhog) and the rest is Pennsylvania superstition and lore. 

            After learning about the groundhog, youngsters set out on a scavenger hunt in the Center to find a burrow, whiskers, bandana, and two other "surprises."

            Students learned about the meaning of the symbols on the Pennsylvania-German flag that include The Sailing Ship Concord (commemorating the journey from Germany); The Keystone (symbol of the principal settlement for the majority of the Germans); The Church (indicative of the devoutness of the Pennsylvania-Germans); The Plow (a symbol of their most predominant profession – farming); The Heart and Tulip (represent their contributions in the field of arts and crafts); and the Conestoga Wagon (is a symbol of their contribution to the need for transportation.)

            They were able to learn a bit about the Pennsylfawnish-Dietsche (Pennsyvania-German) dialect, spoken by many who settled in the region.  It, along with other traditions and culture of the Pennsylvania-Germans continues to be preserved through various related organizations.

            After some fun and education regarding the ground hog and its special day, children were able to take an oath to become honorary "grundsau members" by promising to: clean their ears, take out the trash, wash their eyeglasses, brush their hair, and clean out their burrow.

            The day wrapped up with games and art with Rachel Yoder and others, along with plenty of goodies for all to "munch" on.


 

 

 

 

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