French Folklaw & Traditions ~ dog names, cuckoos & coins


Over the past week I’ve heard two French traditions of which I was previously unaware.

English Airedale - of which there are one or two in the area

The first tradition I came across was that all pedigree dogs born in the same year should have names beginning with the same letter. This year, for instance, all pedigree dogs have names beginning with the letter ‘G’, next year it will be ‘H’, and so on. This rule was introduced in 1926 by the  Livre des Origines Français (or the LOF) which is the stud book for all pedigree dogs in the country. The aim of the rule was to simplify the work of dog genealogists. When the rule was introduced the letter ‘Z’ was excluded as there were not enough French names beginning with that letter.  In 1972, the Commission Nationale d’Amélioration Génétique (National Committee for Genetic Improvement) decided to standardize the yearly letters for all animals. Five letters (K, Q, W, X, Y) were removed, for the same reason “Z” had been excluded. The French Kennel Club also decided to use only capital letters for dog names. This meant the exclusion of accents and special characters, i.e. À, à, Â, â, Æ, æ, Ç, ç, É, é, È, è, Ê, ê, Ë, ë, Î, î, Ï, ï, Ô, ô, Œ, œ, Ù, ù, Û, û, Ü, ü, Ÿ, ÿ. More information on what happens in other countries can be found here.

And now the second, more folksy, tradition. The other evening Sandra and I were having a BBQ in the wood just outside of Le Chatelier when we heard a cuckoo calling. One of our french co-picnicers started searching through her pockets and, when failing to find what she was seeking, asked us if we had a coin to hand. The tradition being that if you rub a coin when you hear a cuckoo then more money will come to you. None of us present had any cash on us so it looks like it’s going to be a pretty lean year in the Touraine du Sud.

Does anyone else aware of traditions perculiar to Fance and/or the Touraine? If so do feel free to add your comments.

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About Jim McNeill

I am a blogger on 'The Social History of the Touraine region of France (37)' and also 'The Colonial History of Pennsylvania and the life & Family of William Penn'. I am a Director of Fresh Ground Group Ltd.
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5 Responses to French Folklaw & Traditions ~ dog names, cuckoos & coins

  1. kathandroger says:

    Not aware of peculiar local traditions, but we did learn something about Airdales yesterday (by the way, the one in your picture is a fine lad!). Apparently Airdales are common is parts of Africa as they are the only dog that is not afraid of lions. And apparently lions are very wary of Airdales. They have such incredible teeth that they sink them into the lion’s neck and won’t let go! Our Boudie is scared of our chicken Blanche, so I’m not sure how she would fare with a lion!! Thanks for the interesting post.

  2. Jim McNeill says:

    Monique of Le Chatelier wrote to me about a local tradition in the commune of Paulmy: “Il y a des trésors à Paulmy ,nous avons une grotte avec la Vierge Marie (comme à Lourdes ) ou nous allions chaque 15 aout faire une procession . c’est privé…mais nous avons l’autorisation du propriétaire.”
    Roughly translated it means: “There are treasures in Paulmy, we have a grotto with the Virgin Mary (as in Lourdes) and there is a procession every August 15. It’s private … but we have permission from the owner of the land.”

    N.B. August 15th is a public holiday in France celebrating the Assumption of Mary to heaven.

  3. Colin Dyson says:

    I had noticed that at thr races horse’s names started with a standard letter for year of birth, but I didn’t know it extended to other animals as well.

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