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, dots were viewed as symbols of male virility and magic. The interest in polka dotted clothing became popular 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. Apart from polka dot wearing Minnie Mouse, you may have missed DC Comics' 1962 introduction of the arch villain Polka-Dot Man, who hid dastardly weapons behind his irregularly-sized and differently coloured dots!
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.