Ottery St. Catchpole Reel

Harry Potter's Birthday

Jul 31

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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." ~ J.K. Rowling, The Prisoner of Azkaban

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.


This dance, by devisor Anselm LIngnau, is named after the fictional town of Ottery St. Catchpole.   According to the information from the Harry Potter universe:

Ottery St Catchpole is a small town located in DevonEngland. It was presumably named after a Saint Catchpole.

The village has both a Muggle and a magical community, the latter quietly established after the passing of the Statute of Secrecy in the seventeenth century.  Wizarding families that live in or near Ottery St Catchpole include the Weasleys who live just outside in The Burrow, the Fawcetts, the Diggorys, and the Lovegoods.  The areas of Ottery St Catchpole leading up to the Lovegoods were full of Whomping Willows and in early 1998 infested by Inferi summoned there by Death Eaters on Voldemort's orders.

From the wiki page:

Presumably, 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 J.K. Rowling went to university, so it is plausible that she visited it, or at least had heard of it. The word Ottery means "on the river Otter." Catchpole gives an impression of a Quidditch goal post or, perhaps, a fishing rod.  However, Merriam-Webster defines "catchpole" as a Middle English term for a sheriff's deputy, usually assigned to collect a debt.  Possibly a humorous reference to the impoverished Weasleys.

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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