Monday, 30 March 2020
Huntigowk Day, Keep Smiling
Where have all the days gone this year? The first day of April will soon be upon us and I know I wish that when 12pm arrives on Wednesday, everybody is going to shout "April fools." Yes, you know what I'm talking about.
When my husband and I were chatting the other day, we started to reminisce, something we do lots of these days. Although we've been married since God was a boy, we can still manage to dig deep and exchange stories that we've never told each other before. Or, maybe we've just forgotten! That makes them sound new I suppose.
Okay, the memory that flooded into my mind was one of my grandmother on 'April Fool's Day.' It wasn't a memory of a practical joke she had played, but of the name, she gave this annual custom. She called it 'Huntigowk Day,' and if you fell for her practical joke, she would cry 'Ah, Huntigowk.'
My husband had never heard this name before and to be fair I can only remember this name being used by my grandmother. We surmised it was an old Scottish title and I decided that to satisfy our curiosity I would have to dig a little deeper into this unusual name.
Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away many years ago and sadly so have all of her children, therefore, there is none of her family I could call to shed some light on my query. It was time to hit the keyboard and search on Google.
It wasn't hard to find an answer. It seems that in Scotland the tradition was called 'Hunt the Gowk Day.' Gowk meaning cuckoo or as in this case, it means 'fool.' Traditionally, someone would be sent with a message to a recipient, supposedly asking for help, but the message on the note said 'Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.' The recipient sends the person to someone else, so, so on until the messenger realizes he/she has been sent on a fool's errand.
The memories etched in my mind of my grandmother are still teaching me something many years on and the fond memories I have of her can still bring a smile to my face. That means some of the advice that I would ignore if I was the recipient of this note is 'Dinna laugh, dinna smile.'