Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"O you virtuous owle,
The wise Minerva's only fowle."
~ A Remedy for Love, Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)
If one's only fowl is an owl, then so much the better. Though today, young or small owls are known as "hoolet" (a variation on "owlet")in olden times the owl was referred to as "coileach-oidhche" ("night-cockerel"), and often thought of as a guide to and through the Underworld, as well as being a creature of keen sight in darkness, and a silent and swift hunter. Though generally solitary, owls when seen together in a group are referred to as a “parliament” based on their reputation of wisdom. Hoo! Hoo! 🦉
Owl Awareness Day is a day to learn more about the owl, a family of about two hundred species of mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight. Exceptions include the diurnal northern hawk-owl and the gregarious burrowing owl. They are found in all regions of the earth except Antarctica and some remote islands.
The owl has been been the subject of many superstitions, some positive but many not. Here are some interesting superstitions formerly believed of owls.
Owls are the only creatures that can live with ghosts, so if an owl is found nesting in an abandoned house, the place may be haunted.
If a traveler dreams of an owl, he will be robbed or possibly shipwrecked.
If you see an owl perched in a tree and you walk around that tree, the owl will follow you with its eyes, turning his head around until he wrings his own neck.
It is bad luck to see an owl in daylight (Scotland)
On the positive side, owls were also believed to bring good fortune in other cultures:
An Afghan legend states that it was the owl that presented humans with flint and iron so that they could make fire.
And the Aborigines of Australia believe that owls are the spirits of women and are therefore sacred.
And finally, to the Inuit of Greenland, the owl is a symbol of guidance and help
For a very interesting list of owl superstitions from various countries, click the Great Horned owl and her very well camouflaged owlet. Can you spot the baby owl?