The Left Handed Fiddler

Left Hander Day

Aug 13

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Left Hander Day
The Left Handed Fiddler
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

Celebrate Sinistrality for Left-Handers Day! And if you're a left-handed fiddle player playing right-handed, left-handed, or reverse-stringed, we salute you!

If you're a leftie, have you ever heard these terms? Southpaw, Lefty, Ballock-handed, Corrie-pawed, Cuddy-wifter, Hooker, Buck-fisted, Cack-handed, Caggy, Clicky, Cow-pawed, Dolly-pawed, Gar-pawed, Gibble-fisted, Golly-handed, Kay-neived, Keggy-handed, Kerry Kittaghy, Kerr handed, Kerry fisted, Left-kelly, Left-plug, Scoochy, Scrammy-handed, Skiffle-handed, Spuddy-handed, Squiffy, and Bambino .

The Left Handed Fiddler

Aug 13th is an international celebration of Left-Handers, began in 1976 to annually celebrate "sinistrality" and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed.

 

Left-handers are sometimes otherwise known by the following colorful nicknames:
 

Southpaw, Lefty, Ballock-handed, Corrie-pawed, Cuddy-wifter, Hooker, Buck-fisted, Cack-handed, Caggy, Clicky, Cow-pawed, Dolly-pawed, Gar-pawed, Gibble-fisted, Golly-handed, Kay-neived, Keggy-handed, Kerry Kittaghy, Kerr handed, Kerry fisted, Left-kelly, Left-plug, Scoochy, Scrammy-handed, Skiffle-handed, Spuddy-handed, Squiffy, and Bambino

 

In board sports (surfing and skateboarding), though the meaning varies, to prefer the left foot for maneuvering is sometimes called being "goofy-footed".
 

We give a big left thumbs up to all the left-handers for overcoming for the right-handed bias you've no doubt encountered throughout your life, starting with those painful right-handed scissors in elementary school.

 

Historically, the left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative in many cultures. The Latin word sinistra originally meant "left" but took on meanings of "evil" or "unlucky" by the Classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives in the English word "sinister".  An abnormal fear of left-handers is called "Sinistrophobia."

The origin of this negative view allegedly  goes back to the Roman art of bird divination, ornithomancy, as birds were supposed to play the role of messengers of the gods. 

One way used to divine auspices was to note the direction in which some auspicious birds, such as l ravens, crows or eagles were flying.   If birds were flying by on your right this was good omen, but on the left,  a foreshadowing of ill fortune.

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Many theories abound as to why right-handedness dominates in the population. Stone Age implements discovered seem equally divided between left and right, and studies of cave drawings have indicated a preference for the left hand!  But by the time  tools became more sophisticated, a clear right-handed preference emerged. 

Superstitions and prejudices regarding lefties and left-handedness abound. Actuarial tables, medical statistics, and the history books are filled with both positive and negative traits and examples of left-handers, many of which (the negative) have now been debunked.  

In animal populations, cats and dogs are typically right-pawed or left-pawed as well, rather than ambidextrous.  A 1991 study showed that a majority of domestic cats are right pawed (50 percent), 10 percent are ambidextrous, and the remaining 40 percent favor their left paw.   But a study on dogs, conducted in 2006 showed that around 50 percent of dogs are left pawed and 50 percent are right pawed, with a statistically insignificant number being ambidextrous.

Raise your left hand in a toast to the lefties in your life with a "Left Hand" cocktail, made from a sinister blend of bourbon, vermouth, and chocolate Mole bitters.  

 

And to learn more about interesting and weird facts about left-handers, click the left-handed superpower graphic or visit this interesting page.

As for left-handed musicians, there are left-handed musicians who play right handed, musicians who play left-handed with right-stringing, and musicians who play left-handed with reverse stringing!  Give them a hand!

And for a video of "The Left Handed Fiddler" dance being performed by RSCDS Sacramento, 2010, also see below.   The devisor, Howard Lasnik, dedicated this dance to Boston's Barbara McOwen, fiddler, band leader, composer, music arranger and director, and dancer.

The Left Handed Fiddler
The Left Handed Fiddler

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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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