Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Madison. Madison Wonders, “Who invented parties?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Madison!
What do the following things have in common: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, New Year's Eve, and Cinco de Mayo? Give up? They're all occasions that call for a celebration, a party, a fiesta, a gala, a soiree, a get-together, a bash…maybe even a shindig!
Have you ever been to a shindig? The word itself conjures up images of a lively party full of outgoing guests, cool refreshments, delicious snacks, loud music, and fun games. There's nothing quite like a good old-fashioned shindig to celebrate any occasion.
But what exactly is a shindig? And why do we call it that? Let's take a closer look at the meaning of this word and how it came to be part of our wild, WONDERful English language.
Shindig is typically used when referring to a boisterous or noisy dance or party. It's also usually used to refer to such a party when it's celebrating something particular, such as a birthday or holiday.
The term has appeared in American English writing since at least the 1870s. Scholars believe shindig is a modification of an older word: shindy. Shindy was used to describe a noisy party or gathering, but it could also be used to describe a brawl, ruckus, or commotion.
It's easy enough to see how a ruckus could resemble a noisy party. Some people believe the idea of a kick to the shins during a ruckus led to the evolution of shindy to shindig.
The origin of shindy is less clear. Some experts believe it's a modification of an even older word: shinny. Shinny (sometimes called shinty) was a Scottish game played with bent sticks on ice that many believe was one of the precursors of modern ice hockey.
We can only speculate on how and why shinny evolved into shindy. However, a game similar to ice hockey could give rise to comparisons to dancing, loud noise, and a ruckus or commotion.
So are you ready for a shindig? Although parties are often portrayed as fun events that everyone enjoys, the fact is that there are many people who don't really enjoy parties — even when it's their birthday!
Some people are introverts. People who are introverts prefer to spend time alone or with a small, quiet group of friends. For introverts, social gatherings, such as shindigs, can cause stress or anxiety rather than being enjoyable.
If you're an introvert and a friend suggests throwing a shindig for your birthday, simply tell them that you'd rather have just a few friends over to play cards or watch a movie. You can still have a great time without loud music and dozens of people!