"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A twisted history as the wreath comes down

"The last decoration, "  December #watercolor 27 of 31
It's time to take down the wreath for another year, along with the other decorations, as Christmas is past. I did that this morning. 
Instead of personal mail, also for the next 12 months, the  mailbox will be full of the usual junk mail, bills and some business items..
I wondered about the word "wreath." The first recorded use meaning a ring or garland of flowers or vines was in the 1560s.
But it's older than that, with a "twisted" history. It came from an Old English word wrida meaning a bandage or band (literally that which is "wound around." from the Proto-Germanic *writh (also Old Norse rida, Danish vride, Old High German ridan "to turn, twist," Old Saxon, Old Frisian wreth "angry,"Dutch wreed "rough, harsh cruel," Old High German reid "twisted," Old Norse reida "angry") from the ProtoIndoEuropean *wreit "to turn, bend," (the source of the Old English wrida "band", or wridan "to twist, torture," wrab "angry.")
Aren't you glad we now make it a symbol of joy and celebration, at least for a few weeks each year?

Note: the "d" I've typed in the above old words is actually this letter, but I don't know how to type it. It had a "th" sound: ð 

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