Sep 26

International Rabbit Day

Cunningham
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"What do you call a bunny in a kilt? A "Hopscotch!"

The Cunningham Coat of Arms is a pictorial description of an event in the life of the first man to bear the name of Cunningham. It consists of a silver shield on which is displayed a black shake fork (a farm implement) supported by two brown rabbits or hares (coineanaich). Happy kilted or unkilted rabbits will perform a special maneuver called a "binky," the ultimate kilt flip. Rabbits will pop up into the air in excitement and spin and twist their bodies into any number of acrobatic feats. Binkies are usually followed by running madly around in circles! πŸ‡πŸ‡πŸ‡

To mark "International Rabbit Day," we have the Cunningham Tartan, the etymology of which is likely associated with the word "coneys," an old word for rabbits and hares.

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There are several theories as to the origin of the Cunningham name.  Some trace it to Roman times, linking it to the word "cunning" (originally signifying "courage in battle") to the name of  "Cunedda" a Celtic king from an early branch of Britons.  

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Alternatively, several Gaelic words are tied into the meaning of this name.  The Friskin (generally considered the progenitor of the Cunninghams), were also called "Cunygan" which contains the root "Cuny" or "Coney" meaning rabbit. "Hame," meaning home, yields the compound meaning,  "Rabbit's Home."

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The Cunningham coat of arms often includes rabbits or hares.  In heraldry, the hare (rabbit) is generally meant to symbolize one who enjoys a peaceable and retiring life.

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There are a variety of colorful stories relating to the Cunningham's motto and coat of arms. The best known story has a connection with the historical king Macbeth. After killing Duncan (the first Historical King of Scotland), Macbeth sent his men to kill Duncan's son, the prince Malcolm Canmore. While being chased by Macbeth's men, the prince took refuge in the barn of a lowland farmer, Malcolm, son of Friskin. Understanding the danger the prince was in, he instructed the prince to hide under the straw in the barn.

 

The farmer needed help to cover the prince and called out to his companion, "Over, fork over," as they worked to heap layers of straw over the prince.  When Macbeth's men approached the barn a few moments later and asked if the farmer had seen the prince,  Malcolm, son of Friskin replied that he had not, thus saving the prince's life.

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Scotland is thought to have its own native hare, the Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus).  

 

Also known as blue hare, tundra hare, variable hare, white hare, snow hare, alpine hare and Irish hare, it is largely adapted to polar and mountainous habitats such as the Scottish Highlands. 

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For more on the Mountain Hare and its current conservation status, click the rabbit in tartan.

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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9 out of 10 kilt wearers agree - this is almost as thrilling as a good

tartaned kilt flip when going regimental! β€‹

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