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The Cuckoo Clock

Cuckoo Warning Day

Jun 21

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, 1880

Mark Twain may have been in the minority. Many love the cheerful "cuckoo" of the cuckoo clock. The cuckoo gets its name from one of the calls of the common cuckoo bird , which is emulated in the cuckoo clock. More than any other kind of timepiece, the cuckoo clock has often featured in Western culture as a metaphor or allegory of innocence, childhood, old age, the past, fun, or even a mental disorder. Classic cuckoo clocks often have the cuckoo chime on the hour, while some more elaborate clocks feature a quail call on the quarter hours! For those who heed the wild cuckoo, traditional weather folklore holds that if you hear a cuckoo calling on June 21st, there is a wet summer ahead! 🌧️ 🕰️ ☀️

The Cuckoo Clock

The distinctive call and behavior of the cuckoo bird have fascinated for thousands of years.  In Greek mythology, the cuckoo was 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 as a result of some cuckoo species tendency to lay their eggs in the nests of other species.  However,  the majority of cuckoos raise their own young.   

In India, cuckoos are sacred to Kamadeva, the god of desire and longing, whereas in Japan, the cuckoo symbolises unrequited love.

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, and are 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.

The Cuckoo Clock

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Cuckoo Clock

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