The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34525   Message #1909313
Posted By: sian, west wales
14-Dec-06 - 07:58 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
I'm with you on this one Azizi. And, Richie, I do actually think that the Burns reference is the flower - but that there is also a direct connection between the flower's colour and a 'blushing' young girl. There is a very specific tradition in Wales of overtly referring to people - particularly youths and young women - in botanical terms. When a song refers to 'blodau mis Mai' (flowers of May) it is referring to children born 'out of wedlock'. In one song, a girl is referred to as a stalk of wheat (OK - sounds a lot better in Welsh. Honest.) Interestingly, garden flowers very rarely appear in Welsh songs - wild flowers and crops are more usual - and I've always meant to start a comparison with English folk songs to see if there's any statistical differences ...

Anyhooooo, it would be interesting to hear from anyone familiar with the writing styles of the period in Scotland to see if the Welsh practice holds true there.

Oh - and there would also be the question of 'pink' as connected with 'girlie-ness'. When did they start painting the Ladies Washrooms pink? (God, that drives me mad!) Presumably, there was a time before everything girlish had to be pink. In Wales (and elsewhere) feminine pulchritude was a matter of being - sorry for this, Azizi! - 'gwyn' or 'white'. 'Gwyn' also means 'blessed' and 'fair'. I was once also told that to have white skin or white/fair hands meant that you were rich enough not to have to work hard out-of-doors for your living and was therefore class-related (not race-related).

So it may be that the flower connection is earlier than the pink=girl connection ... ?

Just floating an idea ...