Another entertaining little piece from Culture Vannin about the traditional Manx Christmas .....
Before the Victorians reformed it into a time of piety and morality, Christmas was about relaxing and letting go. In the Isle of Man it brought the Kegeesh Ommidjagh – the foolish fortnight.
All work stopped on 21 December – Oie’l Thomase Doo (Black Thomas' Eve) – and the partying began.
"There is not a barn unoccupied the whole twelve days” we learn from 1731, with dances happening all over the Island, where young men and women would sneak out to the hedgerows so they could better enjoy their ‘close celebrations of the festival’!
More anarchic entertainment was provided by the mollag bands. Groups of young lads roamed the towns making 'a rare din' singing, dancing and playing homemade instruments, carrying mollags – inflated sheep's bladders – with which they hit anyone who got too close. The aim was to make money, but they were perhaps hounding it out of people more than receiving willing donations!
In the home, the Kissing Bush hung from the rafters – the hoop of decorated holly and ivy gave you the licence to kiss anyone under it.
In church was the Oie’ll Verree service which took place on Christmas Eve. Here the singing of carols was accompanied by young women throwing peas at young men.
After the service came a trip to the pub for ale spiced with pepper before the young men walked the women home and were sometimes invited in as the parents slept above…
Sneaking out to the hedgerows for close celebrations with the opposite sex does not sound too appealing in the dead of winter! I'd rather have a bowl of soup.ReplyDelete
They must have been hardy souls back then.Delete
The young Manx women sang: "Peas on Earth. Goodwill to all Manx men".ReplyDelete
That's funny. Very good Dave!Delete
I wonder if that grew out of a backlash response to the banning of Christmas altogether by the government of Oliver Cromwell? Sounds riotous.ReplyDelete
I think they always knew how to have a good time, despite Mr Cromwell.Delete
Sounds as if they got it about right ! Dancing, snogging and eating .....whats not to love ? XXXXReplyDelete
Life is too short to be miserable xxxDelete
There’s no way I’d be lifting my skirts for anyone in the midwinter. I wonder how many men suffered from ‘frozen pecker’ - oh think of the pain….for them 😊ReplyDelete
Very graphic, Cathy!Delete
Whole new mental pics to accompany 'chilly willy'ReplyDelete
Ah yes. When I first saw that video I thought it was an unfortunate name to give a child's cartoon character!Delete
1731 was obviously a very good year!ReplyDelete
Lots of autumn babies in 1732?Delete
They were a hardy lot in those days weren't they! Well, what else is there to do when you know you've got a whole twelve days of Christmas to enjoy life to the full. Though nipping out into the hedgerow isn't my idea of fun on a very cold night! I bet they didn't strip off!ReplyDelete