from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A stylized goldfinch in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, representing happiness and good fortune.
In Pennsylvania Dutch country, the distelfink — a goldfinch that eats thistle seeds and builds thistledown nests — is a good-luck bird. It also symbolizes smooth sailing and tranquility and is often found on colorful hex signs, a form of Pennsylvania Dutch folk art commonly found painted on barns in Berks County, where I was born.
The Dutch Festival's hex sign consists of two birds, known as Double Distelfink, symbolizing 'doubled' good luck and happiness. The tulips represent faith, hope and charity in dealing with others, while the surrounded hearts mean love.
I almost went for a double distelfink, which promises double good luck, but this one has two birds and a tulip on it, and I wanted something a little more virile, like the Mighty Oak.
This word comes from the Old High German 'distilvinko,' where 'distil' means 'thistle' and 'vinko' means 'finch.'