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 Winter customs

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Hanu Fein
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Join date : 2009-09-16
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PostSubject: Winter customs   Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:00 pm

Gratʹi a grimšer
Seasonal customs


It must not be forgotten that the Irish Travelling Pavee community itself existed within the matrix and schema of the larger Irish culture and were subject to the traditions and cultural feasts of the day.

Within this framework and social construct, with a higher susceptibility of modified traditions (due to a wider array of traditions encountered and communities participated in) there was both an adherence to the seasonal festivals as well as an unique parade of customs associated with such terrestrial events.

While strictly speaking the older Celtic community celebrated eight seasonal festivals – a conjunction of traditional gauges of the earthy cycle, such as Imbolic; the start of spring and Yule; the zenith of the long nights, with those of the harvest based events such as that of Mabon; the reaping of the sowed crops.

However, due to the transient nature of the Irish Travelling Pavee's community a stringent observance of such things was not always of a practical design, which in turn resulted in a more liberal interpretation and flow of celebratory events, directed by the feasts of the Roman catholic church and guided by those that followed them.

Here are some of the customs of winter

Gūopart - Winter

The cold winds and dark nights of winter brought with it the rarely tender reminders of how harsh life on the roads can be. Now was a time in where the fires were stacked, the kindness of others was most sought and the reliance on craft and cunning was most appreciated.

The making of Potin and the carving of the bloc na Nollaig, later known as the Yule log was usual among this time, as was the charge of cleaning chimneys and mending of any pots and buckets, that those better off were not in direct need of but wished to have corrected before they were “brought into the new year”.

The taking of a bit of hay from the Christmas crib is a tradition that still continues to this very day. The strands of hay are said to bring with it the virtues of the Christ birth, as well as all matter or protections and luck. On the day following Christmas the Mummers, children dressed in rags, carrying a box, was often seen and the custom partaken in. Reflecting the older Celtic tradition of honouring the wren as king of all birds as well as enjoying any possible surplus of food or the blessing of a few coins from the houses attended.

The night of the Epiphany was one with fasting, prayer and adoration of the Virgin Mary. Many Irish Pavees did not sleep on this night but stayed awake to watch the dawn rise as a sign of the coming light and promise of spring, as well as celebration of the news of the Christ birth. This was a day in which women and girls were to do little or no work, which as it happens to comes after the traditional twelfth days of Christmas was most certainly earned.

Handsel Monday is a tradition that has all but died out. It took place on the last Monday of January, in which children were given small gifts called 'handsels”. They were most often within the Irish travelling Pavee tradition religious tokens such as scapular's, crosses and holy medals.

Winter was a time of songs around the camp fire, of tales of remembrance and of plans for the year ahead. It was one of scarcity and little travel but with much warmth from family and friends.

Anyone got any more?
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Jonnie
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PostSubject: Re: Winter customs   Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:23 am

little older then some of ye here and only settled down a couple of years ago my folks never really did were forgettin so much! il thnk this ovr as iv a lot more too
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