Polka Dot Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"But the thing that led to love
Was her polka-dotted glove
When the band played the Polka Dot Polka!"
~ The Polka Dot Polka, 1943
The popularity of the polka dot pattern has waxed and waned, with widely varying cultural and historical interpretations. In medieval Europe, the dotted pattern was initially seen as very unpleasant, representing disease and impurity. Meanwhile, in non-Western cultures, however, dots have been viewed as symbols of male virility and magic. The interest in polka dotted clothing and happy associations began during the late 19th century polka dance craze that swept through Europe. Clever businesses took advantage of “polka mania’ and began manufacturing different types of polka-themed products, of which the polka dot clothing trend is the sole survivor, most famously sported as a signature look by Minnie Mouse! The real question is, would you wear polka dots and plaid together? 🔴 🟠 🟡 🟢 🔵 🟣
Polka dots became common on clothing in the late nineteenth century as a result of the polka dance craze introduced in Europe in the 1840s.
The "polka" dance and music craze originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic, and reached its height of popularity beginning in the 1840s and lasting through the 1860s. There was a proliferation of polka sheet music and merchandising - polka cloth, bonnets, shawls, hats, polka suspenders and even polka pudding! As the dance craze waned, the polka dot fabric pattern remained popular.
Traditionally polka dots have been used in the clothing of flamenco dancers and performers. And perhaps surprisingly, in 1962, DC Comics introduced minor villain Polka-Dot Man with irregularly-sized and differently coloured dots who battled Batman and Robin.
An original recipe for polka pudding from 1917 called for:
Half-pound of suet,
1/2lb of raisins,
1/2lb of treacle or golden syrup,
1/2lb mashed potatoes.
Stone the raisins and stick them over a well-greased pudding basin or mould.
Mix the other ingredients well together and pour in.
Boil four hours and serve with custard sauce.
For a more colorful updated cake version using the same dotted concept, click the cake below.