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