The Piper and the Penguin

Penguin Day

Apr 25

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Penguin Day
The Piper and the Penguin
DNA day
Rosalind's Fancy
Penguin Day
Reel of the Emperor's Egg
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

There’s a king penguin at Edinburgh Zoo that was knighted by the King of Norway in 2008. Sir Nils Olav holds the rank of Colonel-in-Chief in the Norwegian Guard.

The Piper and the Penguin

World Penguin Day is celebrated on April 25th!   There are believed to be 17 penguin species, ranging from the Little Blue Penguin to the mighty Emperor Penguin.


The word penguin first appears in the 16th century as a synonym for the "great auk,"  an unrelated species of flightless bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century.

The etymology of the word penguin is still debated. Some attribute it to the French word pingouin for "auk" although the word first appears in English or Dutch.

An alternative etymology links the word to Latin pinguis, which means "fat" or "oil". 

The Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (SNAE), 1902–04, organized and led by William Speirs Bruce, a natural scientist and former medical student from the University of Edinburgh, completed a full program of exploration and scientific work, including the establishment of a manned meteorological station in Antarctica in 1906, is known for its association with a bagpiper and a penguin!

During the expedition, on 7 March 1904, when the ship "Scotia" was in the Weddell Sea, the expedition ran into a blizzard and the ship became trapped by pack-ice.


While they were stuck there, the crew passed the time investigating the effect of music on penguins!


A bagpiper, Gilbert Kerr  (hired to maintain morale and as a laboratory assistant) lashed a penguin to his leg then played different styles of music to see if they affected the penguin differently!  


By the 12th of March, a crack opened up in the ice, and the Scotia and her crew (and presumably, the penguin) were able to escape. 

Click the picture for more on these Antarctic Expeditions.


And to see the video below of the Piper and the Penguin performed by the RSCDS Seattle Branch from October 2012.

The Piper and the Penguin
The Piper and the Penguin

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the


Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 


Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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