Manx Tradition

All posts tagged Manx Tradition

Hop tu Naa – At Cooil Road in Douglas.

Do you know the difference between Halloween and Hop Tu Naa? As the rest of the British Isles prepare to celebrate Halloween on 31 October, many Isle of Man residents will instead celebrate Hop tu Naa. Historically Hop tu Naa has been considered to be the Celtic New Year, marking the end of the summer and the beginning of winter.

Hop tu Naa is celebrated with the carving of turnips for lanterns as opposed to the pumpkins that are commonly used for Halloween. Children will then go singing around the houses for hop tu Naa treats, this was once apples, bonnag and herring but as the years have gone by it’s now sweets and pennies.

Children visit the houses in fancy dress costumes and with their spooky turnip lantern. A favourite song of choice and one you still regularly hear amongst the children is the famous ‘Ginnie the Witch’ which is a traditional Manx Gaelic song.

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Hop tu Naa © Peter Killey - www.manxscenes.com

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I took this image this morning opposite the Woodbourne Hotel in Alexander Drive in Douglas.

The custom of ‘Hunting the Wren’ has long been an Isle of Man tradition, and is still kept alive each St Stephen’s Day.

It is thought that it is descended from Celtic mythology and the tradition may also have been influenced by Scandinavian settlers during the Viking invasions of the 8th and 10th centuries.

Historically, groups of young men known as ‘wren boys’ would hunt a wren and then tie the sacred bird to the top of a pole, decorated with holly sprigs and ribbons. With blackened faces, the group would sing at houses and receive for money, presents or food for their efforts. Those that gave money to the boys would receive a feather from the wren as thanks. The collected money was then used to host a village dance.

Superstitious Manx fishermen were known not to venture out to sea without having first secured a feather to ensure their safe return. Wrens’ feathers were also considered a general preservative against witchcraft.

The image was captured on my Nikon S8200 Camera resized and cropped in Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Feel free to make any comments either on this website by clicking the “Write comment” below or by logging onto my Facebook Page – Click on the image for a larger view.

Hunt the Wren 2012 - © Peter Killey

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The custom of ‘hunting the wren’ has long been an Isle of Man tradition, and is still kept alive each St Stephen’s Day.

It is thought that it is descended from Celtic mythology and the tradition may also have been influenced by Scandinavian settlers during the Viking invasions of the 8th and 10th centuries.

Historically, groups of young men known as ‘wren boys’ would hunt a wren and then tie the sacred bird to the top of a pole, decorated with holly sprigs and ribbons. With blackened faces, the group would sing at houses and receive for money, presents or food for their efforts. Those that gave money to the boys would receive a feather from the wren as thanks. The collected money was then used to host a village dance.

Superstitious Manx fishermen were known not to venture out to sea without having first secured a feather to ensure their safe return. Wrens’ feathers were also considered a general preservative against witchcraft.

The images were captured on my Fuji X10 camera, resized and cropped in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Click on the images for a larger view!

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