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National Holidays Feb. 1-5: Will the groundhog see his shadow this week?

Monday: National Baked Alaska Day

A dish named after a heated debate over the purchase of the state of Alaska from Russia in 1867, baked Alaska is an ice cream cake topped with meringue toasted in the oven just before serving, or bombe Alaska en flambe! On this day, try your hand at making this layered dish by following this Food Network recipe to enjoy with family and friends. 

Tuesday: Groundhog Day

On Feb. 2 each year we watch to see if Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s resident groundhog, he will see his shadow and soon usher spring around the corner. Based on the German Candlemas holiday where predictions of whether winter will last six more weeks are based on whether a hedgehog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, the United States and Canada have adopted Groundhog Day to spread a little spring cheer among the bleak weather. To celebrate Groundhog Day, tune-in to your local news station to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and see for yourself — will your local groundhog see his shadow today? 

Wednesday: National Missing Persons Day

A day of awareness created by Jo Ann Lowitzer after her daughter Alexandria went missing in 2010, National Missing Persons day aims to draw awareness to painful circumstances no one expects to endure. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System program (NamUs), “over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year.” Horrible to endure and difficult to investigate, you may honor this day by familiarizing yourself with what might come into play if someone you know becomes a missing person or if you personally come in contact with an identified missing person by reading resource guides on the NamUs website. 

Thursday: National Optimist Day

Celebrated during the first Thursday in February and declared by Optimist International in 2017, National Optimist Day focuses on the importance and recognition of volunteers in your community. To celebrate this day, thank a friend, family member or co-worker for their work, even if it’s not strictly volunteer, but if they’ve gone above and beyond in some way this day. To volunteer yourself, check out the University of Maine’s Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism for opportunities to better our local community. 

Friday: National Weatherperson’s Day

A commemorative day created to honor the life of meteorologist John Jeffries’ breakthrough discoveries via weather balloon in the late 1700s, National Weatherperson’s Day allows for people to take a moment and appreciate their favorite local weatherperson. To celebrate, tune-in to this week’s forecast either online or by flipping on a local channel and discuss this week’s forecast with friends and family — it looks like we’ll be getting quite a bit snow! Be an active participant in this week’s weather by tracking the temperature and precipitation each day or even build a snowman. If you’d like to take a more laid-back role, watch “The Aeronauts,” an Amazon Prime exclusive inspired by true events, starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne as they fly a weather balloon higher than 30,000 feet into the air. 

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