Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 13, 2006
In Reply to: A dog-hanging posted by ESC on April 12, 2006
: : Does anyone know the origin of the expression "a dog-hanging", meaning some sort of significant social or public gathering? Example: "John and Fiona's wedding was the best dog-hanging I've been to for ages". I think that the expression is still commonly used by the older generation in Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire.
: Maybe there is a connection with this: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/14/messages/376.html
In earlier centuries dogs were sometimes judicially hanged (which gives rise to a saying in British legal circles "you wouldn't hang a dog on that evidence"). The British public notoriously enjoyed seeing a person publicly hanged, and would flock from miles around to attend such an event; I dare say for want of a human hanging people would go to a dog-hanging.