Friday, 6 January 2012

the last day of Christmas

We believe Christmas is over on the 6th of January, because twelve days of Christmas have gone by, so we're taking the decorations off the Wollemi pine that was our Christmas tree this year. Of course I started singing the old song about the Twelve Days of Christmas as I did so.

I was wondering why we sing 'four colly birds', when most people these days sing 'four calling birds', and discovered the word colly means black and so the song's about blackbirds.

And then I came across a couple of references to collie dogs, so naturally I couldn't resist having a look at those sites. It seems the breed might be named for the black-faced sheep they used to herd in Scotland, or maybe they are named because the dogs themselves were black.

Here's a quote from The Border Collie Museum:
Combe goes on the say that "some say that the collie, or colley in its [early] English spelling, got it's name from the breed of sheep it herded." She posits that the black-faced sheep may have been called "coaley" for black. This idea is also promoted by the often quoted reference in Chaucer's Nonnes Tale "Ran Colle our dogge...", the implication being that he was a black dog, and that's why his name was Colle (like "Blackie").

Merriam-Webster online dictionary seems to agree with Combe. Their entries for "colly" and "collie" seem to support the idea of a coal-black origin


Stewey said...

What a beautiful photo!

Kippy Marrie said...

Penny... Voce é muito fofo e seu blog é uma graça. Estou seguindo. Venha me conhecer e espero que goste de mim também. Sou a Kippy, e moro no Brasil.
Te espero com muita alegria. Amo fazer amigos em todo o mundo.
Até mais amiguinho...
Aus aus da doguinha do Brasil...



parlance said...

Thanks, Stewey!

parlance said...

Hi, Kippy! I came over to visit your blog and I was impressed by all the lovely photos!

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

We know there is a Julian Calendar and a Gregorian Calendar Christmas. One of them is on Dec 25th and the other is January 7th. Don't remember which calendar is which. So anyway, our church celebrates both calendar Christmas. Butt, we only get presents for the Dec 25th Christmas. So, we start taking our Christmas decorations down after Jan 7th.

parlance said...

Lassie and Benjie, that's interesting. Celebrating both dates. I'll have to look around the internet to read up on this calendar business.