Flitters

I was reminded today by the local Manx culture organisation, Culture Vannin, of the Manx tradition for the morning of Good Friday  -  the eating of flitters.






These shellfish are caught from the rocks and cooked there on the shore. Tradition says that no iron should be used at all this day (in recognition of the nails used to put Jesus on the cross), and so the flitters should be cooked in their own shells in the embers of the fire, and eaten using sharpened sticks.

The shells are thrown into the sea with the Manx invocation, "Gow shoh as bannee orrin" ('Take this and bless us'), before performing the Flitter Dance over the embers of the fire.

There are a couple of short videos here;  the first showing the collecting and cooking of the flitters and the second  of the dance, performed by some very serious children...



https://vimeo.com/260973563


https://vimeo.com/261299607








32 comments:

  1. Oh you were right those youngsters were taking their dance exhibition very seriously indeed 😊
    Are flitters the same as limpets? The shells look similar

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    1. Yes they are limpets. I prefer the Manx name though 🙂

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  2. My mother used to say "we're flitting" when we were moving house, and afterwards "we've flitted", which is what you're planning to do.

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    1. Did you flit by moonlight Tasker?

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    2. No, but the family of a school friend did. They just disappeared overnight. It was said they'd gone to Sheffield.

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  3. My mother use to say to me: "You look like you have fallen off a flitting." Meaning my appearance was very unkempt. The Sun's cracking flags here today JayCee.

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  4. Never heard of this before! I love things like this.

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    1. The Isle of Man has a lot of wonderful cultural traditions that have not been allowed to die out. Culture Vannin is very good at promoting these and educating those of us who were not born here.

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  5. Do flitters taste a bit like clams or oysters?
    I had to google to find out more about the Manx. I really don't know about the Isle of Man and how it is governed. Do you speak Manx, JayCee?

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    1. I am not sure if they taste similar Ellen as I have never eaten any shellfish (apart from crab). I would presume so, though.
      No, I don't speak Manx although I do know the odd word!
      The Isle of Man is a self governing British Crown Dependency. We are not part of the United Kingdom and have our own government, however, our Head of State is the Queen. It's complicated!
      There is a very brief overview here if you are interested...
      https://www.britannica.com/place/Isle-of-Man

      Perhaps you could pop over for a visit and I could show you around 😁

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  6. Intriguing Jycee - has the tradition died out now?

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    1. Not entirely. There are still some who follow the traditions.

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  7. So it's barbeque on the beach on friday huh? Clay cook pot? We used to cook our shellfish on a hot rock sat in the embers. It paid to be better at geology than me as some flat river rocks exploded when heated up!

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  8. Those kids are so cute. I like your music too,much more melodious than 'ours'.
    And lovely to see your Manx customs being continued. See, it's not only the Greek men that gather to eat Around a fire. What do they wash them down with.
    Your flitter tradition is wonderful

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    1. I expect they would be good washed down with some of the local ale. We have a couple of breweries here that make decent beer.

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  9. I have tried many shellfish but never limpets - not sure what to make of those. I read once that years ago people on the Isles of Scilly used to eat them in a soup, especially in those stormy winters when supplies were low

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    1. Yes, many small island communities would have relied on what they could harvest from the sea in order to survive. I am just glad that I don't have to eat them!

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  10. Fascinating glimpse into the Manx traditions, Jaycee. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the music and thought the kids put on a lovely show.

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    1. Thanks Chris. Those kids dance really well don't they.

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  11. As Chris said - fascinating. It's wonderful that some still observe this ancient tradition. Have you ever tried flitters yourself JayCee?

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    1. No, I am very wary of eating shellfish after a bad experience that is still seared into my memory.

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    2. Is that the only place it was seared?

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    3. Hmm no. The bathroom never quite recovered afterwards.

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  12. I'm sure I've seen Rick Stein talking about eating Limpets. I've never heard them called 'Flitters'. I expect they're quite chewy.

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    1. I think Flitters is just the local name for them here. They probably are a bit chewy I expect.

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  13. I loved the videos - thank you! I know those as limpets but flitters is a wonderful name. My mum (Irish) used to say 'I was in flitters' meaning she was in a state of nerves/anxiety/fear!
    xxx

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  14. Wow that’s an interesting tradition, and unique to the IoM for sure.
    Have you tasted them?
    Hugs Mary x.
    thepoutingpensioner.blogspot.com

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    1. Ah no. Too wary of shellfish these days 🤢

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