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[Cob] A Hogmanay tradition, for cob housesDorothy Cordochorea dcordochorea at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 13:28:07 PST 2012
The following email landed in my inbox today. The description of the construction of the old thatched-roof houses with walls "five to eight feet thick" sounds (if maybe somewhat exaggerated) nonetheless one of cob dwellings. The Hogmanay (New Years) tradition apparently took advantage of the details of the dwellings' construction, so I thought I'd share it with you all, just for your interest. --Dorothy *** A very happy, better, blessed, safe, warm, dry, prosperous, healthy, and love filled new year to each and every one of us... something from the Celtic tradition, from a friend, Blessed Be Aleta HOGMANAY OF THE SACK CALLUINEN HO!--This rune is still repeated in the Isles. Rarely, however, do two persons recite it alike. This renders it difficult to decide the right form of the words. The walls of the old houses in the West are very thick--from five to eight feet. There are no gables, the walls being of uniform height throughout. The roof of the house being raised from the inner edge of the wall, a broad terrace is left on the outside. Two or three stones project from the wall at the door, forming steps. On these the inmates ascend for purposes of thatching and securing the roof in time of storm. p. 149 The 'gillean Callaig' carollers or Hogmanay lads perambulate the townland at night. One man is enveloped in the hard hide of a bull with the horns and hoofs still attached. When the men come to a house they ascend the wall and run round sunwise, the man in the hide shaking the horns and hoofs, and the other men striking the hard hide with sticks. The appearance of the man in the hide is gruesome, while the din made is terrific. Having descended and recited their runes at the door, the Hogmanay men are admitted and treated to the best in the house. The performance seems to be symbolic, but of what it is not easy to say, unless of laying an evil spirit. That the rite is heathen and ancient is evident. HOGMANAY of the sack, Hogmanay of the sack, Strike the hide, Strike the hide. Hogmanay of the sack, Hogmanay of the sack, Beat the skin, Beat the skin. Hogmanay of the sack, Hogmanay of the sack, Down with it! up with it! Strike the hide. Hogmanay of the sack, Hogmanay of the sack, Down with it! up with it! Beat the skin. Hogmanay of the sack, Hogmanay of the sack. HOGMANAY CAROL I AM now come to your country, To renew to you the Hogmanay, I need not tell you of it, It was in the time of our forefathers. I ascend by the door lintel, I descend by the doorstep, I will sing my song becomingly, Mannerly, slowly, mindfully. The Hogmanay skin is in my pocket, Great will be the smoke from it presently. * * * * The house-man will get it in his hand, He will place its nose in the fire; He will go sunwards round the babes, And for seven verities round the housewife. The housewife it is she who deserves it, The hand to dispense to us the Hogmanay, A small gift of the bloom of summer, Much I wish it with the bread. Give it to us if it be possible, If you may not, do not detain us; I am the servant of God's Son at the door, Arise thyself and open to me. THE SONG OF HOGMANAY Now since we came to the country To renew to you the Hogmanay, Time will not allow us to explain, It has been since the age of our fathers. Ascending the wall of the house, Descending at the door, My carol to say modestly, As becomes me at the Hogmanay. The Hogmanay skin is in my pocket, Great the fume that will come from that; No one who shall inhale its odour, But shall be for ever from it healthy. The house-man will get it in his grasp, He will put its point in the fire; He will go sunwise round the children, And very specially round the goodwife. The wife will get it, she it is who deserves it, The hand to distribute the Hogmanay, The hand to bestow upon us cheese and butter, The hand without niggardliness, without meanness. Since drought has come upon the land, And that we do not expect rarity, A little of the substance of the summer, Would we desire with the bread. If that we are not to have it, If thou mayest, do not detain us; I am the servant of God's Son on Hogmanay, Arise thyself and open the door. Hogmanay here! Hogmanay here! HOGMANAY WE are come to the door, To see if we be the better of our visit, To tell the generous women of the townland That to-morrow is Calendae Day. After being entertained the guisers go sunwise round the fire singing-- May God bless the dwelling, Each stone, and beam, and stave, All food, and drink, and clothing, May health of men he always there. Should the guisers be inhospitably treated, they file round the fire withershins and walk out, and raise a cairn in or near the door, called 'carnan mollachd,' cairn of malison, 'carnan cronachd,' scaith cairn. They tramp loudly, shaking the dust of the place off their feet, and intoning with a deep voice the following and other maledictions:-- The malison of God and of Hogmanay be on you, And the scath of the plaintive buzzard, Of the hen-harrier, of the raven, of the eagle, And the scath of the sneaking fox. The scath of the dog and of the cat be on you, Of the boar, of the badger, and of the 'brugha,' Of the hipped bear and of the wild wolf, And the scath of the foul foumart. THE BLESSING OF THE NEW YEAR THIS poem was repeated the first thing on the first day of the year. It was common throughout the Highlands and Islands. The writer has heard versions of it in many places. GOD, bless to me the new day, Never vouchsafed to me before; It is to bless Thine own presence Thou hast given me this time, O God. Bless Thou to me mine eye, May mine eye bless all it sees; I will bless my neighbour, May my neighbour bless me. God, give me a clean heart, Let me not from sight of Thine eye; Bless to me my children and my wife, And bless to me my means and my cattle. __._,_.___ <briangoldstar at aol.com?subject=Re%3A%20HOGMANAY%20FROM%20CARMINA%20GADELICA>
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