The Distelfink has long been associated with and part of the Lititz Mutual corporate logo. We have often been questioned on the origin of this traditional bird. According to local folk lore, this is the story:
In the late 1600’s, William Penn invited all persecuted religious groups to travel from Europe and settle in his Penn’s Woods, now known as Pennsylvania. Many of the groups that settled in current-day Lancaster County included Lutherans and Reformed sects, as well as the Amish, Quakers and Mennonites. These groups, many of them from Germany, became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. With them they brought many of their customs and traditions which were incorporated in their furniture, hex signs, and stoneware.
The Distelfink appears often in local artwork as a sign of good fortune. The bird is believed to be associated with the Gold Finch, which is the first bird to migrate north in the springtime. The Finch makes its nests from the down of a thistle bush from which it then enjoys the seeds. Any home which this “thistle finch” would build its nest near was said to be blessed with love and happiness.
The Lititz Distelfink was originally taken from a piece of slipware of Pennsylvania Dutch origin, now on display in the Philadelphia Art Museum. As in local lore, we wish that any home protected today by the Lititz Mutual Distelfink be blessed with the same good fortune, love and happiness.