Ottery St. Catchpole Reel

Harry Potter's Birthday

Jul 31

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

~ The Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling, 1999

If you are a Harry Potter fan you will know that in the series, Ottery St Catchpole was a small village located in Devon, England, presumably named after a Saint Catchpole. The village had both a Muggle and a magical community, the latter quietly established after the passing of the Statute of Secrecy in the 17th century. Four wizarding families were known to live around Ottery St Catchpole: the Weasleys, the Fawcetts, the Diggorys, and the Lovegoods! The name is most likely a reference to the real Devon town of Ottery St Mary. Ottery St Mary is near Exeter, the city where Rowling went to university, so it is plausible that she visited it, or at least had heard of it. There are also several locations near Ottery St Mary that include "Burrow" in their names, possibly making them namesakes for the Weasleys home. The word Ottery means "on the river Otter." Catchpole gives an impression of a Quidditch goal post or, perhaps, a fishing rod. However, "catchpole" is also a Middle English term for a sheriff's deputy, usually assigned to collect a debt - possibly a humorous reference to the impoverished Weasleys. 📚 💫 🦉

Ottery St. Catchpole Reel

July 31st is the birthday of fictional boy-wizard, Harry Potter!


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in J.K. Rowling’s seven-part series, begins as Harry turns 11 and is invited to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


Each book and subsequent film begins around Harry’s birthday—which falls on the same day as Rowling’s— and so the eighth story in the series, Harry Potter and Cursed Child, was released on July 31, 2016.


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This dance, by devisor Anselm Lingnau, is named after the fictional town of Ottery St. Catchpole.  


If you're inspired to throw a Harry Potter birthday party, click Harry and Hedwig the owl for lots of ideas for themed food, fun and games!

Ottery St. Catchpole Reel
Ottery St. Catchpole Reel

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