Cuckoo Warning Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"For years my pet aversion had been the cuckoo clock...Some sounds are hatefuller than others, but no sound is quite so inane, and silly, and aggravating as the "hoo'hoo" of a cuckoo clock, I think. I bought one, and am carrying it home to a certain person; for I have always said that if the opportunity ever happened, I would do that man an ill turn." ~Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad
The Cuckoo Clock
Folklore says that if you hear a cuckoo calling on June 21st, there is a wet summer ahead.
The distinctive call and behavior of the cuckoo bird have yielded rolesin human culture for thousands of years. In Greek mythology, the cuckoo is sacred to the goddess Hera. In Europe, the cuckoo is associated with spring, and with cuckoldry, for example in Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost. In India, cuckoos are sacred to Kamadeva, the god of desire and longing, whereas in Japan, the cuckoo symbolises unrequited love.
Although some cuckoo species are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other species, the majority of species raise their own young. The cuckoo gets its name from one of the calls of the common cuckoo, which is emulated in the cuckoo clock.
The cuckoo clock, more than any other kind of timepiece, has often featured in Western culture, as a metaphor or allegory of innocence, childhood, old age, past, fun, or mental disorder.
The first mention of of cuckoo clocks goes back to 1629, many decades before clockmaking was established in the Black Forest region of Germany.
Bellows and whistles create the characteristic "cuckoo" sound inside of the cuckoo clock, usually tuned to a minor or major third.
The world’s most extensive and finest collection of cuckoo clocks (with both old and new models) is at the Cuckooland Museum in Cheshire, England.
To see how a cuckoo clock is made, click the video below.