Poor old horse: winter hoodening

Leggi in italiano
Samhain (the New Year of the Celts) ended on 11 November with a pagan festival still practiced in the early Middle Ages, to which the Church superimposed the feast of Saint Martin. (see first part)

THE CULT OF HORSE

For the Celts the horse was a sacred animal, a symbol of royalty and attribute of various deities.
Symbol of wealth and buried together with his master (or worthy of a ritual burial if he fell in battle) the white one was raised by the Druids and used for prophecies and sacrificial rites.
Totemic animal for many Celtic tribes that take its name, its flesh was taboo except in particular ritual times. 

THE WINTER TRADITION

The soulers and the wassailers or more generally the gangs of young people who went around the farms as beggars during the winter festivals were once (and still today) accompanied by the hobby horse.
The spirits of the Earth who govern fertility were depicted as a horse and associated with the young women not yet married (fertility carriers). An even more Celtic connotation is the identification of the “hobby horse” with the Goddess Mare (the Earth Goddess): we find it in the myth of the Welsh goddess Rhiannon and the northern Italian goddess Epona.

MARTINMASS & HOODENING

obby_oss_sHistorical references to the hobby horse date back to the late Middle Ages (early 1500s) with traces still in the Victorian era: in 1803 the presence of a horse made with the skin of a stallion with a man spraying water on the crowd is documented.
In the Middle Ages the “cavallino” was a character of the cheerful brigade of Robin Hood and was connected with the fertility rituals of the spring festival and the May dances, but also with the Christmas celebrations.
Some scholars trace the ritual back to pre-Christian celebrations connected with the Beltane Celtic festival. But equally numerous are the references to the winter rituals of Samhain.
In the ritual of hoodening a man wears a blanket or a white sheet that covers him entirely and carries a horse’s head on a stick, most commonly a wooden head with jaws with hinges so that it can be maneuvered to open and close ( once a real horse skull). Sometimes a burning candle is placed in the skull with very disturbing effects.

LÁIR BHÁN

At Samhain in Ireland, appalling parades took place in the countryside and in medieval villages, led by Láir Bhán (the white mare) followed by a band of young men waving horns and asking for offers for Muck Olla.
William Hackett  wrote (1853): ‘It is not many years since on Samhain’s eve, 31st October, a rustic procession perambulated the district between Ballycotton and Trabolgan, along the coast. The parties represented themselves as messengers of Muck Olla, in whose name they levied contributions on farmers; as usual they were accompanied by sundry youths, sounding lustily on cows’ horns; at the head of the procession was a figure enveloped in a white robe or sheet, having, as it were, the head of a mare, this personage was called the Láir Bhán, “the white mare,” he was a sort of president or master of ceremonies. A long string of verses was recited at each house. (from here)

by Niamh Ní Ruairc

MARI LWYD

Mari Lwyd, or “Y Fari Lwyd” (in English Gray Mare) is the Welsh version of the hooden horse. Tradition still practiced in central and southern Wales, in particular at Llantrisant and Pontyclun at New Year. The mask consists of a horse’s head (a real skull) with a movable jaw and disquieting eyes made from two pieces of green bottle, decorated with colored ribbons and carried on a pole by a person hidden under a large white cloak. The beggars stop to sing in front of the doors of the houses and call the mistress and challenge her in a pwnco (a challenge in verse). The victory of the singing challenge allows the beggars to enter the house to eat sweets and drink beer.
As can be seen in the illustration by Paul Bommer, the landlady is holding a broom and does not want the group to enter because it is a bringer of disorder. In fact, once the company was entered, the mare would go around the room chasing the women; the mare is clearly a monstrous and otherworldly creature that must be appeased with some offerings and sometimes a small child could calm the beast with a treat.

English translation
I
Here we come
Dear friends
To ask permissions to sing
II
If we don’t have permission,
Let us know in song
How we should go away tonight
III
I have no dinner
Or money to spend
To give you welcome tonight
Welsh gaelic
I
Wel dyma ni’n dwad
Gyfeillion diniwad
I ofyn am gennod i ganu
II
Os na chawn ni gennad
Rhowch wybod ar ganiad
Pa fodd mae’r ‘madawiad, nos heno
III
‘Does genni ddim cinio
Nac arian iw gwario
I wneud i chwi roeso, nos heno

NOTE
1) if the people were defeated in the poetic battle, Mari Lwyd claimed the right to stay at dinner with all her followers. Alternatively they offered a glennig (a small tip), a glass of glaster (water and milk) or beer.

HOODEN HORSE

In Kent the Heningening groups have returned (in the villages of San Nicola-a-Wade, Nether Hale, Sarre), in particular the tradition is very rooted in San Nicola-a-Wade where the hooden horse is called Dobbin, an old man poor horse exhausted by the labor of work: a sort of “sacred representation” is staged with various characters and songs; once the teams of hoodening went from house to house with musicians and the clatter of bells: the horse was accompanied by a group of peasants, one who holds the reins (the tamer), the other who carries a basket of fruit an another on the back, there is also “Mollie” or the “old lady” who carries a broom. Here the master knocks and as soon as the door is opened the horse kicks and scares, opening his mouth wide, while Mollie fucks the feet of one who has opened the door.. (see more)

The Horse regularly appeared through the year at, especially in Midwinter (Hallowtide, the Twelve Days of Christmas, et al). The Horse was a man dressed as an animal, covered in blanket and carrying a horse’s head, with reins, on a pole. The head was sometimes wooden but usually a real horse skull – hinged jaws allowed the mouth to snap open and shut. Along with other young men the horse ‘galloped’ and visited houses as a ‘lick-bringer’. This was not always successful and in 1839 at Broadstairs a woman was so terrified coming face-to-face with the ‘horse’ she died of fright. The custom was subsequently forbidden by local magistrates.
In East Kent Hoodening took place at Christmas. The Horse had a wooden head and sometimes a lighted candle was placed in the mouth. Farmworkers walked with the horse, one leading it by the reins or a rope and carrying a whip, and another worker light enough to ride on the horse’s back. A third known as Mollie or Old Woman was in female attire and carried a broom or besom.
In Reculver, only men who had worked with horses during the year were allowed to partake.  (in “A Dictionary of British Folk Customs” di Christina Hole, 1995 from here)

POOR OLD HORSE

There are many versions of the song, which was a part of the Mummers play, who staged the death and resurrection of the horse

Shirley Collins from “False True Lovers” 1959

I
My clothing was once of a linsey-woolsey fine,
My mane it was sleek
and my body it did shine.
But now I’m getting old
and I’m going to decay,
Me master frowns upon me
and thus they all do say, “Poor old horse.”
II
My living was once to the best of corn and hay
As ever grew in England,
and that they all did say.
But now there’s no such comfort
as I can find at all.
I’m forced to nab the short grass
that grows against the wall,
“Poor old horse.”
NOYE
This version is only a fragment and the initial part is missing in which the mummers / soulers ask to be welcomed at home

Kate Rusby from Sweet Bells 2008


I
We’ve got a poor old horse,
He’s standing at your door,
And if you’ll only let him in,
He’ll please you all (1) I’m sure (x2)
II
Now that he’s grown old
And nature doth decay,
My master frowns upon him now,
These words I’ve heard him say (x2)
III
Now that he’s grown old
And scarcely can he crawl,
He’s forced to eat the coarsest grass
That grows against the wall (x2)
IV
This poor horse was once young,
And in his youthful prime
My master used to ride on him,
He thought him very fine (x2)
NOTE
1) in the verse the song is highlighted as a begging song with propitiatory ritual

Paying off the dead horse: sea shanty version

THE SUMMER TRADITION

oldossOSS
On the streets of Padstow, a small fishing port in North Cornwall on the mouth of the Camel River, now a tourist destination, each May Day is celebrated with the Obby Oss Festival (continua)

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/epona.html
http://paleopix.com/blog/2013/10/31/lair-bhan-and-the-mast-beast/
https://thefadingyear.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/origins-of-trick-or-treating/
https://www.omniglot.com/songs/bcc/marilwyd.php
http://www.folkwales.org.uk/arctd9a.html
http://hoodening.org.uk/hooden-horses.html
http://www.hoodening.org.uk/hoodening-history1.html http://paulbommer.blogspot.it/2010/12/advent-calendar-22nd-mari-lwyd.html http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/cy/279/
http://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/pooroldhorse.html

Apples in Winter: New Years Eve in Great Brittany

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APPLES IN WINTER

The apple tree is a tree that was born in the mountains of Central Asia and it has spread along the commercial “silk road”, moving to the west. It is commonly believed that it was the ancient Romans who brought the apple tree to Britain, yet the most recent archaeological excavations in Armagh (Northern Ireland) found apple seeds dating back to the 10th century BC. In fact, the apple appears in many Druidic teachings and in Celtic poetry and mythology.
The apples are stored for a long time in a cool and dry place like attics, becoming one of the few fruits that can be eaten in winter.

AILLIN & BAILE

The apple tree is the embodiment of the female principle; a medieval narration tells us the love story of Aillin and Baile, two children in love to whom the Druids had prophesied that they would never meet in life, but only after death to never separate again: the macabre (or romantic) prophecy came true magically with the union of the wood of two trees, the apple and the yew grown on their graves!
The legend is set at the time of Celtic Ireland by King Cormac mac Airt (II-IV century), but it is somewhat inconsistent with respect to the archaeological sources in our possession; they tell the story of the “taball filidh” (the poet’s tablet) -probably a wooden tablet or a waxed tablet in use with the ancient Greeks and Romans – one made from the wood of the apple tree of Aillin and the other from the wood of the Baile rate, that they indissolubly linked to each other when they found themselves nearby for the first time (to Samain during the party presided over by Art, son of Conn of the Hundred Battles, king of Erinn). If the story were true, the bards of Ireland writed they poems on wooden tablets; these two tablets were one from Leinster (apple), the other from Ulster (rate) and for their magical adherence were preserved as rarities in the treasure of Tara.
The story seems to be a variant of the love knot between the rose and thorn, recalled in the medieval ballads (grown from the respective tombs of the unfortunate lovers, they come together and intertwine with each other).

But the main association of the apple tree with the Celtic world is the Island of the apples, Avalon, the land of the Fairies.
Geoffrey of Monmouth writes in the Historia Regum Britanniae (1136)
Insula pomorum quæ fortunata vocatur,
Ex re nomen habet, quia se singula profert.
Non opus est illi sulcantibus arva colonis,
Omnis abest cultus, nisi quem natura ministrat,
Ultro fœcundas segetes producit, & herbas,
Nataque poma suis prætonso germine sylvis.

The isle of Apples, truly fortunate,
Where unforc’d goods and willing comforts meet.
Not there the fields require the rustick’s hand,
But nature only cultivates the land.
The fertile plains with corn and herbs are proud,
And golden apples smile in ev’ry wood.“.

Fairies’ food that can make immortal or restore health to the sick, the apple is the basis of the preparation of cider, a low-alcohol drink obtained from the fermentation of fruits such as apples, pears or loquats, typical of the United Kingdom, Basque Country and of Normandy. see

APPLE WASSAIL

by Hedingham Fair

The oldest form of the winter celebration of the Wassail provides the blessing of trees and bees, so important for pollination, in order to ensure a healthy harvest for the next year.
“Apple Wassail”, is the blessing of the orchards: during the ritual they sing and make a spell, with a great noise they beating pots and pans (or shooting in the air) to ward off evil spirits, pourring some cider around the roots of the oldest tree; finally all drink to the health of the apple trees and the future harvest, eating sweet buns, and leaving a slice to the spirit of tree (to feed the robins), placed on the branches of the plant as thanksgiving.
(see more)

HEL CALENNIG (GALLES) 

The second rite comes from Wales called “Hel Calennig” (Literally “the hunt of the Calends”) based on the ancient tradition of exchanging a gift for the first of January. (some scholars believe that the ritual derives from the customs practiced in the Roman Empire for the New Year. see Strenia)

Hel Calennig” is a Welsh tradition of the first day of the new year: an apple impaled on three sticks like a tripod, decorated with cloves and a sprig evergreen. This “trophy” is brought as a gift (or shown) in the neighbors’ house by the children singing a good-luck song.
In return they receive bread and cheese or some coins.

Blwyddyn newydd dda i chwi,
Gwyliau llawen i chwi,
Meistr a meistres bob un trwy’r ty,
Gwyliau llawen i chwi,
Codwch yn foreu, a rheswch y tan,
A cherddwch i’r ffynon i ymofyn dwr glan.
A happy new year to you,
May your holidays be merry,
Master and mistress – everyone in the house;
May your holidays be merry,
Arise in the morning; bestir the fire,
And go to the well to fetch fresh water

The New Year is also the Hoodening Day in Wales when Mari Lwyd, “Y Fari Lwyd”   (in English “Gray Mare”) is brought home.

MARI LWYD

Paul Bommer

Mari Lwyd is the Welsh version of the hooden horse. Tradition still practiced in central and south Wales, in particular in Llantrisant and Pontyclun on New Year’s Eve. The mask consists of a horse’s head (a real skull) with movable jaw and disquieting eyes made from two pieces of green bottle, decorated with colored ribbons and carried on a pole by a person hidden under a wide white sheet.
The wassailers stop to sing in front of the doors of the houses and call the mistress and challenge her in a pwnco, a sort of debate between the two sides, often with insolent verses. The victory of the singing challenge allows the wassailers to enter the house to eat sweets and drink beer.
As we can see in the illustration, the landlady holds a broom in her hand and she does not want to let the wassailers enter, because they are bringers of chaos.
The revel as all the rituals of the peasant world requires a certain degree of drunkenness and harassing behavior. In fact, the mare will turn around the room trying to take the women, she is clearly a monstrous and otherworldly creature who must be appeased with some offers. Sometimes a small child stands with a sweet and manages to calm the beast. keep it going. see more




I
Here we come
Dear friends
To ask permissions to sing
II
If we don’t have permission,
Let us know in song
How we should go away tonight
III
I have no dinner
Or money to spend
To give you welcome tonight
Welsh gaelic
I
Wel dyma ni’n dwad
Gyfeillion diniwad
I ofyn am gennod i ganu
II
Os na chawn ni gennad
Rhowch wybod ar ganiad
Pa fodd mae’r ‘madawiad, nos heno
III
‘Does genni ddim cinio
Nac arian iw gwario
I wneud i chwi roeso, nos heno

NOTE
1) if the people of the house were defeated in the poetic contest, the Mari Lwyd claimed the right to stay at dinner with all his followers. Alternatively they offered a glennig, (a small tip), a glass of glaster, (water and milk) or beer

At Cwm Gwaun (Gwaun Valley), above Abergwaun (Fishguard), the community celebrates Yr Hen Galan (the old New Year) on January 13, according to the calendar prior to 1752.
Even in Wales as in Scotland is still rooted the practice of Firstfoot: here must be a man with a lucky name (Dafydd, Sion, Ifan or Siencyn), or alternatively a woman with a lucky name (Sian, Sioned, Mair or Marged ); in New Year’s Eve there was also a wren hunting.

APPLES IN WINTER JIG

The “Apples in winter” is an Irish jig also known by many other titles (see)

David Power uillean pipe & Willie Kelly violin in “Apples in winter” (n enjoyable cd of jigs and reels + some traditional Irish air)

Dervish

Anglo concertina, Cittern, & Guitar

Ardan

second part

LINK
http://bifrost.it/CELTI/4.Eriuiltempoelospazio/05-Soprannaturale.html
http://www.unamelaalgiorno.com/la-mela-nella-cultura-celtica.html
http://icoloridelvento-mirial.blogspot.it/2015/10/il-melo-e-il-frutto-della-conoscenza.html
http://www.laltrafacciadellamela.altervista.org/
https://isimbolinellacomunicazione.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/la-mela/
http://www.amando.it/ricette/alimenti/mela.html
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/johnny-jump.htm
https://museum.wales/articles/2014-06-14/Christmas-customs-Hel-Calennig/
https://lilydewaruile.wordpress.com/tag/calennig/

SCORES
https://thesession.org/tunes/299
http://tunearch.org/wiki/Apples_in_Winter_(1)
http://spokanesessions.com/tune.php?tune=1
http://www.celticguitarmusic.com/tbj_apples_winter.htm

Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire may day carols

Leggi in italiano

CAMBRIDGESHIRE MAY CAROL
Tune: ARISE, ARISE

The tune is known as “Arise, arise” and the carols of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire are very similar, even in the lyrics.

Ruth Barrett & Cyntia Smith from  “Music of the Rolling World” (1982) I really like the processional gait cadenced by the drum

CAMBRIDGE MAY SONG
I
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maids
And take your May Bush in
For if it is gone before tomorrow morn
You would say we have brought you none.
II
All through the night before daylight
There fell the dew and rain.
It sparkles bright on the May Bush white;
It glistens on the plain.
III
Oh, the hedges and fields are growing so green,
as green as grass can be.
Our Heavenly Mother watereth them
With her heavenly dew so sweet (1).
IV
A branch of May we’ll bring to you
As at your door we stand.
It’s not but a sprout, but ‘tis well budded out,
The work of Our Lady’s hand.
V
Our song is done,
it’s time we were gone
We can no longer stay.
We bless you all, both great and small
And we send you a joyful May.

NOTE
1) This carol lets us glimpse, among the tributes paid to the Virgin Mary, some pre-Christian rituals practiced in May Day: in addition to the May branch also the bath in the dew and in the wild waters rich in rain. The night is the magic of April 30 and the dew collected was a real panacea able to awaken the beauty of women!

Shirley Collins, Cambridgeshire May Carol

I
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maids,
And take your May bush in,
For if that is gone before tomorrow morn/ You would say we had brought you none.
II
Oh, the hedges and fields are growing so green,
As green as grass can be;
Our heavenly father watereth them/With his heavenly dew so sweet..
III
I have got a little purse in my pocket
That’s tied with a silken string;
And all that it lacks is a little of your gold
To line it well within.
IV
Now the clock strikes one,
it’s time we are gone,
We can no longer stay;
So please to remember our money, money box
And God send you a joyful May.

draft_lens18966079module155701739photo_1323457372Kate_Greenaway_-_May_day

CAMBRIDGE MAY GARLAND SONG

Collected in 1900 in the Peterborough area
Mary Humphreys

I
Good  morning, lords and ladies,
It is the first of May;
I hope you’ll view the garland,
For it looks so very gay.
(refrain)  
To the greenwood we will go.
II
I’m  very glad to spring as come
The sun is shine so bright
The little birds upon the threes
Are singing with delight
III
The  cuckoo(1) sings in April,
The cuckoo sings in May,
The cuckoo sings in June,
In July she flies away.
IV
The  roads are very dusty
The shoes are very thin
We have a little money-box
To put a money in

SOURCE: Fred Hamer: Garners Gay (1967)
“Mrs. Johnstone [Margery” Mum “Johnstone] learned this carol from her grandmother who came from Carlton and seems to have been popular in some villages close to the Northamptonshire border.The same melody with similar words is spread throughout the south-east of the Midlands ”

Lorraine Nelson Wolf (Bedford carol) 

I
Good   morning lords and ladies
it is the first of May,
We hope you’ll view our garland
it is so bright and gay
REFRAIN
For it is the first of May,
oh it is the first of May,
Remember lords and ladies
it is the first of May.
II
We gathered them this morning
all in the early dew,
And now we bring their beauty
and fragrance all for you
III
The cuckoo comes in April,
it sings its song in May,
In June it changes tune,
in July it flies away
IV
And now you’ve seen our garland
we must be on our way,
So remember lords and ladies
it is the first of May

CHESHIRE MAY-DAY CAROL

Also known under the title “The Sweet Month of May” is a popular song in Cheshire. The text presents many similarities with the Swinton May song to which reference is made for comparison see more

The Wilson Family

I
All on this pleasant morning, together come are we,
To tell you of a blossom that hangs on every tree.
We have stayed up all evening to welcome in the day,
Good people all, both great and small, it is the first of May.
II
Rise up the master of this house, put on your chain of gold,
And turn unto your mistress, so comely to behold.
Rise up the mistress of this house, with gold upon your breast,
And if your body be asleep, we hope your souls are dressed.
III
Oh rise up Mister Wilbraham, all joys to you betide.
Your horse is ready saddled, a-hunting for to ride.
Your saddle is of silver, your bridle of the gold,
Your wife shall ride beside you, so lovely to behold.
IV
Oh rise up Mister Edgerton and take your pen in hand,
For you’re a learned scholar, as we do understand.
Oh rise up Mrs. Stoughton, put on your rich attire,
For every hair upon your head shines like the silver wire.
V
Oh rise up the good housekeeper, put on your gown of silk,
And may you have a husband good, with twenty cows to milk.
And where are all the pretty maids that live next door to you,
Oh they have gone to bathe themselves, all in the morning dew.
VI
God bless your house and arbour, your riches and your store.
We hope the Lord will prosper you, both now and ever more.
So now we’re going to leave you, in peace and plenty here,
We shall not sing this song again, until another year.
Good people all, both great and small, it is the first of May.

ESSEX

So many carols have been Christianized, shifting the homage to the ancient deities to God and Our Lady, as in the next examples. These verses were also documented in the newspapers of the time, for example in the parish of Debden and in the village of Saffron Walden in Essex it was sung:
I
‘I been a rambling all this night,
And sometime of this day;
And now returning back again,
I brought you a garland gay.
II
A garland gay I brought you here,
And at your door I stand;
‘Tis nothing but a sprout, but ‘tis well budded out,
The works of our Lord’s hand.
III
So dear, so dear as Christ loved us,
And for our sins was slain,
Christ bids us turn from wickedness,
And turn to the Lord again.’

Each verse was sometimes also interspersed with a refrain::
‘Why don’t you do as we have done,
The very first day of May;
And from my parents I have come,
And would no longer stay.’

Jean Ritchie

I
I’ve been a-wandering all the night
And the best part of the day
Now I’m returning home again
I bring you a branch of May
II
A branch of May,
I’ll bring you my love,
Here at your door I stand
It’s nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out
By the work of the Lord’s own hand
III(1)
In my pocket I’ve got a purse
Tied up with a silver string
All that I do need is a bit of silver
To line it well within
IV
My song is done
and I must be gone
I can no longer stay
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May

NOTE
1) la strofa è a volte preceduta da questa
Take a bible in your hand
And read a chapter through
And when the day of judgment comes
The Lord will think of you

In the “Nooks and Corners of English Life, Past and Present”, John Timbs, 1867: “At Saffron Walden, and in the village of Debden, an old  May-day song is still sung by the little girls, who go about in parties carrying garlands from door to door. The garlands which the girls carry are sometimes large and  handsome, and a doll is usually placed in the middle, dressed  in white, according to certain traditional regulations : this doll represents the Virgin Mary, and is a relic of the ages of Romanism.”

HERTFORDSHIRE

William Hone in his “The Every Day Book”, describes in a letter dated May 1, 1823 the mummers of May Day to Hitchin who cheer the passers-by with their dances: they are “Moll the crazy” and her husband (with the face blackened by smoke and clothes of rags, “she” holding a big ladle and he a broom), “the Lord and the Lady” (dressed in white and decorated with ribbons and gaudy handkerchiefs, with the gentleman holding a sword) and five/six others  couples of dancers and some musicians- they are all men because the ladies were not allowed to mummers mix: they dance grimaces, chase people with the broom and make the audience laugh.

Always William Hone tells us that the Mayers went from house to house to bring May already at the first light of the day (starting at 3 am) singing “Mayer’s Song” and William Chappell in The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time, 1859 also transcribes the melody, more or less the same as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.”

Hitchin May Day Song

I
‘Remember us poor Mayers all,
And thus we do begin
To lead our lives in righteousness,
Or else we die in sin.
II
We have been rambling all this night,
And almost all this day,
And now returned back again,
We have brought you a branch of May.
III
A branch of May we have brought you,
And at your door it stands;
It is but a sprout, but it’s well budded out
By the work of our Lord’s hands.
IV
The hedges and trees they are so green,
As green as any leek,
Our Heavenly Father he watered them
With heavenly dew so sweet.
V
The heavenly gates are open wide,
Our paths are beaten plain,
And, if a man be not too far gone,
He may return again.
VI
The life of man is but a span,
It flourishes like a flower;
We are here to-day, and gone to-morrow,
And we are dead in one hour.
VII
The moon shines bright, and the stars give a light,
A little before it is day;
So God bless you all, both great and small,
And send you a joyful May!’

Sedayne, live The Heavenly Gates (a may carol)

not exactly the same verses, some stanzas are missing
I
We’ve been rambling all the night, the best part of this day,
we are returning here back again to bring you a garland gay.
II
A bunch of May we bare about, before the door it stands;
it is but a sprout but it’s well budded out; it is the work of God’s own hands.
III
Oh wake up you, wake up pretty maids, and take the may bush in –
for it will be gone e’er tomorrow morn and you will have none within.
IV
The heavenly gates are open wide to let escape the dew;
it makes no delay, it is here today & it forms on me & you.
V
The life of a man is but a span, he’s cut down like the flower;
he makes no delay, he is here today & he’s vanished all in an hour
VI
And when you are dead & you’re in your grave, all covered with the cold cold clay,
the worms they will eat your flesh good man & your bones they will waste away.
VII
My song is done I must be gone, I can no longer stay;
God bless us all both great & small & wish us a gladsome May.

LINK
http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/may/1.htm
http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/b/bedford.html http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=32490 http://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/maysong.html https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/themoonshinesbright.html
http://www.cbladey.com/mayjack/maysong.html http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/ NonChristmas/bedfordshire_may_day_carol.htm http://folkopedia.efdss.org/images/ 7/73/1908_32_Bedfordshire_May_Day_Carol.pdf
http://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/week-36-northill-may-song/ http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59752
http://piereligion.org/maydaysongs.html
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Text/Hone/may_day_at_hitchin.htm

http://spellerweb.net/cmindex/Cornish/Valentine.pdf
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=110990

PADSTOW May Day Songs

Leggi in italiano

 

On May 1, in Padstow, a characteristic event called “Obby Oss Festival” is celebrated, centered on the Hobby Horse dance; Padstow is a small fishing port of North Cornwall on the mouth of the river Camel, now a tourist destination. (first part)

In this second part I’m going to bring back a couple of songs incorporated in the Padstow Oss tradition but that have been written more recently in the 20th century!

HAIL! HAIL! THE FIRST OF MAY

Dave Webber, founder with his wife Anni Fentiman of the Beggar’s Velvet group, wrote a May Song inspired by the oss tradition for their debut album “Lady of Autumn” released in 1990. The song was so convincing that it was adopted among the celebrations for the Padstow May, also known as the “Drink To The Old ‘Oss” (see more)
Magpie Lane from Jack in the Green 1998

HAIL! HAIL! THE FIRST OF MAY
by Dave Webber 1990
I
Winter time has gone and past-o,
Summer time has come at last-o.
We shall sing and dance the day
And follow the ‘obby ‘orse that brings the May.
Chorus:
So, Hail! Hail! The First of May-o!
For it is the first summer’s day-o!
Cast you cares and fears away,
Drink to the old horse on the First of May!
II
Blue bells(1) they have started to ring-o,
And true love, it is the thing-o.
Love on any other day
Is never quite the same as on the First of May!
III
Never let it come to pass-o
We should fail to raise a glass-o!
Unto those now gone away
And left us the ‘obby ‘orse that brings the May!

NOTES
1) The Hyacinthoides of Spanish origin is sometimes called Spanish Bluebells to distinguish it also in the vulgar name from the Hyacinthoides non-scripta, known as English Bluebells.

QUEEN OF THE MAY

In 1982 Larry McLaughlin dedicated this song to his wife Maureen on their silver wedding! Here is a tasty anecdote about it told by Larry McLaughlin’s son: “Dad and I were playing in Padstow one night and, inevitably, we did ‘Queen of the May.’ Afterwards, a woman of middle years and a rich Cornish accent came up to us and said to Dad, ‘’Ere boy, you got the words wrong.’ ‘Oh really,’ Dad replied, ‘But I wrote it.’ ‘So you’re the bugger,’ she replied. “But her husband shouted across, ‘’E didn’t write that, I remember my father singing it.’ To which some else joined in with, ‘You don’t even know who your [bleep]ing father was.’ And such was a typical evening in Padstow. “And in many ways the song has been absorbed into the traditions of Padstow. But we should never forget that it is Mum’s song; its original title is ‘Maureen’s Song.’ A treasured gift from Dad to celebrate their Silver Wedding Anniversary, as he says—without having to spend any money!”

QUEEN OF THE MAY
by Larry McLaughlin 1982
I
Winter is over and summer has come
And the Obby Oss waits in his stable for dawn
Rise up my love early and deck yourself gay
And I’ll take you to Padstow today
Chorus: And put your arms round me. I’ll dance you away
For you are my Queen of the May
II
Skip out o’er the fields and the woods and the dells
Pick primroses, daises, cowslips and bluebells
And from the green woods cut a sycamore spray
And I’ll take you to Padstow today
III
We’ll breakfast on ale and an old chorus song
Musicians will come with accordion and drum
We’ll meet the old Oss and we’ll welcome the May
When I take you to Padstow today
IV
When the years have rolled on love and we are both old
And the stories of May day and Padstow are told
And though I’m old and feeble you’ll still hear me say
I’llt take you to Padstow today

LINK
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/padstow.html http://celtic.org/hobby.pdf http://www.padstowlive.com/events/padstow-may-day http://grapewrath.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/chris-wood-andy-cutting-following-the-old-oss/ https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/hailhailthefirstofmay.html http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=46931#698474 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=60993 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=46931
http://www.sffmc.org/archives/may09/QueenOfMay.pdf

Bedfordshire May Day carols

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BEDFORSHIDE

Moggers-Moggies[Z49-685]
The Lord and the Lady and the Moggers
On 1st May several customs were observed. Children would go garlanding, a garland being, typically, a wooden hoop over which a white cloth was stretched. A looser piece of cloth was fastened at the top which was used to cover the finished garland. Two dolls were fastened in the middle, one large and one small. Ribbons were sewn around the front edge and the rest of the space was filled with flowers. The dolls were supposed to represent the Virgin Mary and the Christ child. The children would stop at each house and ask for money to view the garland.

Another custom, prevalent throughout the county if not the country, was maying. It was done regularly until the outbreak of the First World War and, sporadically, afterwards. Young men would go around at night with may bushes singing May carols. In the morning a may bush was attached to the school flag pole, another would decorate the inn sign at the Crown and others rested against doors, designed to fall in when they were opened. Those maying included a Lord and a Lady, the latter the smallest of the young men with a veil and bonnet. The party also included Moggers or Moggies, a man and a woman with black faces, ragged clothes and carrying besom brushes. (from here)

VIDEO Here is a very significant testimony of Margery “Mum” Johnstone from  Bedforshide collected by Pete Caslte, with two May songs

Maypole dancers dance during May Day celebrations in the village of Elstow, Bedfordshire, in 1952 (Edward Malindine/Getty)

From the testimony of Mrs Margery Johnstone this May Garland or “This Morning Is The 1st of May” was transcribed by Fred Hamer in his “Gay Garners”

Lisa Knapp in Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017


MAY GARLAND*
I
This morning is the first of May,
The prime time of the year:
and If I live and tarry here
I’ll call another year
II
The fields and meadows
are so green
so green as any leek
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet
III
A man a man his life’s a span
he flourishes like a flower,
he’s here today and gone tomorrow
he’s gone all in an hour
IV
The clock strikes one, I must be gone,
I can no longer stay;
to come and — my pretty May doll
and look at my brunch of May
V
I have a purse in my pocket
That’s stroll with a silken string;
And all that it lacks
is a little of your money
To line it well within.

NOTE
* una trascrizione ancora parziale per l’incomprensione della pronuncia di alcune parole

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY DAY CAROL

The carol is known as “The May Day Carol” or “Bedford May Carol” but also “The Kentucky May Carol” (as preserved in the May tradition in the Appalachian Mountains) and was collected in Bedfordshire.
A first version comes from  Hinwick as collected by Lucy Broadwood  (1858 – 1929) and transcribed into “English Traditional Songs and Carols” (London: Boosey & Co., 1908).

Lisa Knapp & Mary Hampton from “Till April Is Dead – A Garland of May”, 2017

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY DAY CAROL
I
I’ve been rambling all the night,
And the best part of the day;
And now I am returning back again,
I have brought you a branch of May.
II
A branch of May, my dear, I say,
Before your door I stand,
It’s nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out,
By the work of our Lord’s hand (1).
III
Go down in your dairy and fetch me a cup, A cup of your sweet cream, (2)
And, if I should live to tarry in the town,/I will call on you next year.
IV
The hedges and the fields they are so green,/As green as any leaf,
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet (3).
V
When I am dead and in my grave,
And covered with cold clay,
The nightingale will sit and sing,
And pass the time away.
VI
Take a Bible in your hand,
And read a chapter through,
And, when the day of Judgment comes,
The Lord will think on you.
VII
I have a bag on my right arm,
Draws up with a silken string,
Nothing does it want but a little silver
To line it well within.
VIII
And now my song is almost done,
I can no longer stay,
God bless you all both great and small,
I wish you a joyful May.

NOTES
1) the hands become those of God and no more than Our Lady, as in Cambridgshire, the contaminations with the creed of the dominant religion are inevitable
2) this sweet and fresh cream in a glass is a typically Elizabethan vintage-style drink-dessert still popular in the Victorian era, the Syllabub. The Mayers once offered “a syllabub of hot milk directly from the cow, sweet cakes and wine” (The James Frazer Gold Branch). And so I went to browse to find the historical recipe: it is a milk shake, wine (or cider or beer) sweetened and perfumed with lemon juice. The lemon juice served to curdle the milk so that it would form a cream on the surface, over time the recipe has become more solid, ie a cream with the whipped cream flavored with liqueur or sweet wine (see recipes) 

Philip Mercier (1680-1760) – The Sense of Taste: in the background a tray full of syllabus glasses

3) the reference to the dew is not accidental, the tradition of May provides a bath in the dew and in the wild waters full of rain. The night is the magic of April 30 and the dew was collected by the girls and kept as a panacea able to awaken the beauty of women!! (see Beltane)

Shirley Collins  live 2002, same tune of Cambridgeshire May Carol (not completely transcribed)

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY CAROL
I
A branch of may, so fine and gay
And before your door it stands.
It’s but a sprout, it’s well-budded out, for the work of our Lord’s hand(1).
II
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And take the May Bush in,
For if it is gone before morning come
You’ll say we have never been.
III
I have a little bird(?)
?…
IV
If not a cup of your cold cream (2)
A jug of your stout ale
And if we live to tarry in the town
We’ll call on you another year.
V(3)
For the life of a man it is but a span
he’s cut down like the flower
We’re here today, tomorrow we’re gone,
We’re dead all in one hour.
VI
The moon shine bright,
the stars give a light
A little before this day
so please to remember ….
And send you a joyful May.

NOTES
1) the hands become those of God and no more than Our Lady..
2) Syllabub (see above)
3) the stanza derives from “The Moon Shine Bright” version published by William Sandys in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) see

NORTHILL MAY SONG

Magpie Lane from “Jack-in-the-Green” 1998 ( I, II, III e IX) with The Cuckoo’s Nest hornpipe (vedi)  
The song is reproposed in the Blog “A Folk song a Week”   edited by Andy Turner himself in which Andy tells us he had learned the song from the collection of Fred Hamer “Garners Gay”
Fred collected it from “Chris Marsom and others” – Mr Marsom had by that time emigrated to Canada, but Fred met him on a visit to his native Northill, Bedfordshire. Fred’s notes say “The Day Song is much too long for inclusion here and the Night Song has the same tune. It was used by Vaughan Williams as the tune for No. 638 of the English Hymnal, but he gave it the name of “Southill” because it was sent to him by a Southill man. Chris Marsom who sang this to me had many tales to tell of the reception the Mayers had from some of the ladies who were strangers to the village and became apprehensive at the approach of a body of men to their cottage after midnight on May Eve.”

Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick from “Because It’s There” 1995, ♪ (track 2 May Song)
Martin Carthy writes in the sleeve notes “May Song came from a Cynthia Gooding record which I lost 16 years ago, words stuck in my head.” (from II to VIII)

MAY SONG
I
Arise, arise, my pretty fair maids,
And take our May bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been rambling all of the night,
The best(and most) part of this day;
And we are returning here back again
And we’ve brought you a garland gay (brunch of May).
III
A brunch of May we bear about(it does looked gay)
Before the (your) door it stands;
It is but a sprout and it’s all budded out
And it’s the work of God’s own hand.
IV
Oh wake up you, wake up pretty maid,
To take the May bush in.
For it will be gone and tomorrow morn
And you will have none within.
V
The heavenly gates are open wide
To let escape the dew(1).
It makes no delay it is here today
And it falls on me and you.
VI
For the life of a man is but a span,
He’s cut down like the flower;
He makes no delay he is here today
And he’s vanished all in an hour.
VII
And when you are dead and you’re in your grave
You’re covered in the cold cold clay.
The worms they will eat your flesh good man
And your bones they will waste away.
VIII
My song is done and I must be gone,
I can no longer stay.
God bless us all both great and small
And wish us a gladsome May.
IX
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.

NOTES
1) according to the previous religion, water received more power from the Beltane sun. Celts made pilgrimages to the sacred springs and with the spring water they sprinkled the fields to favor the rain.

Kerfuffle from “To the Ground”, 2008

ARISE, ARISE (Northill May Song)
I
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And bring your May Bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow, morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been wandering all this night
And almost all of the day
And now we’re returning back again;
We’ve brought you a branch of May.
III
A branch of May we have brought you,
And at your door it stands;
It’s nothing but a sprout but it’s well budded out
By the work of our Lord’s hand.
IV
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.

victorian-art-artist-painting-print-by-myles-birket-foster-first-of-may-garland-day

LINK
https://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/maysong.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/themoonshinesbright.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/cambridgeshiremaycarol.html
https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/NonChristmas/bedfordshire_may_day_carol.htm
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/moon_shines_bright.htm
http://ingeb.org/songs/themoons.html
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/week-36-northill-may-song/

Poor old horse: il rituale dell’hoodening

Read the post in English

La festa di Samain (il Capodanno dei Celti) si concludeva l’11 novembre con una festa pagana ancora molto sentita nell’Alto Medioevo, a cui la Chiesa sovrappose la festa di San Martino. (vedi prima parte)

IL CULTO DEL CAVALLO

Per i Celti il cavallo era un animale sacro, simbolo della regalità e attributo di varie divinità in particolare delle dee-giumente.
Simbolo di ricchezza e seppellito insieme al suo padrone (o degno di una sepoltura rituale se caduto in battaglia) era allevato se di manto bianco dai druidi e utilizzato per i vaticini  e i riti propiziatori (animale sacrificale).
Animale totemico per molte tribù celtiche che ne riprendono il nome, la sua carne era tabù tranne che in particolari momenti rituali. continua

LA TRADIZIONE D’INVERNO

I soulers e i wassailers o più in generale le bande di giovani che giravano per le fattorie come questuanti nelle feste dell’inverno erano un tempo (e ancora oggi) accompagnati dall’hobby horse.
Gli spiriti della Terra che governano la fertilità erano raffigurati in guisa di cavallo e associati con le portatrici della fertilità, le giovani donne non ancora sposate. Una connotazione ancor più prettamente celtica è l’identificazione del “cavallino” con la Dea Giumenta (la Dea Terra): la ritroviamo nel mito della dea gallese Rhiannon e della dea nord italica Epona.

HOODENING A SAN MARTINO

obby_oss_sRiferimenti storici all’hobby horse risalgono al tardo Medioevo (inizi del 1500) con tracce ancora in epoca vittoriana: nel 1803 è documentata la presenza di un cavallo fabbricato con la pelle di uno stallone con un uomo all’interno che spruzzava acqua sulla folla.
Nel Medioevo il “cavallino” era un personaggio  dell’allegra brigata di Robin Hood ed era connesso con i rituali della fertilità propri della festa di primavera e le danze del Maggio, ma anche con i festeggiamenti del Natale.
Alcuni studiosi fanno risalire il rituale a celebrazioni precristiane, connesse con la festa celtica di Beltane. Ma altrettanto numerosi sono i riferimenti ai rituali invernali di Samain che iniziavano alla fine di ottobre e si concludevano dopo circa dodici giorni.
Nel rituale dell’hoodening un uomo indossa una coperta o un lenzuolo bianco che lo ricopre interamente e porta una testa di cavallo su un bastone, più comunemente una testa di legno munita di mascelle con cardini in modo che possa essere manovrata per aprire e chiudersi (un tempo un vero teschio di cavallo). A volte nel cranio è collocata una candela accesa con effetti molto inquietanti.

LÁIR BHÁN

A Samain in Irlanda delle parate spaventose avevano luogo nelle campagne e nei villaggi medievali,  capitanate da Láir Bhán (la cavalla bianca)  seguita da una banda di giovinastri che agitavano delle corna e chiedevano delle offerte per Muck Olla.
Così riporta William Hackett (1853) ‘It is not many years since on Samhain’s eve, 31st October, a rustic procession perambulated the district between Ballycotton and Trabolgan, along the coast. The parties represented themselves as messengers of Muck Olla, in whose name they levied contributions on farmers; as usual they were accompanied by sundry youths, sounding lustily on cows’ horns; at the head of the procession was a figure enveloped in a white robe or sheet, having, as it were, the head of a mare, this personage was called the Láir Bhán, “the white mare,” he was a sort of president or master of ceremonies. A long string of verses was recited at each house. (continua)
[Non sono trascorsi molti anni da quando alla vigilia di Samain, il 31 ottobre, una processione campestre ha vagato per il distretto tra Ballycotton e Trabolgan, lungo la costa. I partecipanti si rappresentavano come messaggeri di Muck Olla, a nome del quale riscuotevano i contributi dagli agricoltori; come al solito erano accompagnati da vari giovani, che suonavano vigorosamente sulle corna delle mucche; a capo della processione c’era una figura avvolta in una veste o un lenzuolo bianco, avente, per così dire, la testa di una giumenta, questo personaggio era chiamato Láir Bhán, “la giumenta bianca”, era una specie di presidente o maestro della cerimonia. Una lunga serie di versi veniva recitata in ogni casa]

by Niamh Ní Ruairc

MARI LWYD

Mari Lwyd, o anche “Y Fari Lwyd” (in inglese “Grey Mare“= cavalla grigia) è la versione gallese dell’hooden horse. Tradizione ancora praticata nel Galles centrale e meridionale, in particolare a Llantrisant e Pontyclun a Capodanno. La maschera consiste in una testa di cavallo (un teschio vero) con la mascella movibile e degli inquietanti occhi ricavati da due pezzi di bottiglia verde, addobbata con nastri colorati e portata su un palo da una persona celata sotto un ampio mantello bianco. I questuanti si fermano a cantare davanti all’uscio delle case e chiamano la padrona e la sfidano in un pwnco una sorta di botta e risposta in versi spesso insolente. La vittoria della sfida canora consente ai questuanti di entrare in casa per mangiare i dolci e bere birra.
Come si vede nell’illustrazione di Paul Bommer la padrona di casa tiene in mano una scopa e non vuole far entrare il gruppo perchè portatore di disordine. Infatti non appena entrata la cavalla girerà per la stanza cercando di prendere le donne, è chiaramente una creatura mostruosa e ultraterrena che deve essere rabbonita con offerte. Talvolta un bambino piccolo si frappone con un dolcetto e riesce a calmare la bestia.



Gaelico gallese
I
Wel dyma ni’n dwad
Gyfeillion diniwad
I ofyn am gennod i ganu
II
Os na chawn ni gennad
Rhowch wybod ar ganiad
Pa fodd mae’r ‘madawiad, nos heno
III
‘Does genni ddim cinio
Nac arian iw gwario
I wneud i chwi roeso, nos heno


I
Here we come
Dear friends
To ask permissions to sing
II
If we don’t have permission,
Let us know in song
How we should go away tonight
III
I have no dinner
Or money to spend
To give you welcome tonight
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Siamo qui
cari amici
a chiedervi il permesso di cantare
II
Se non abbiamo il permesso
ditecelo con il canto
che dobbiamo andarcene stasera
III
Non ho cena (1)
o soldi da spendere
per darvi il benvenuto stasera

NOTE
1) se la gente della casa restava sconfitta nella tenzone poetica, la Mari Lwyd rivendicava il diritto di restare a cena con tutto il suo seguito. In alternativa era offerto un glennig, (una piccola mancia), un bicchiere di glaster, (acqua e latte) o di birra.

HOODEN HORSE

Nel Kent sono ritornati i gruppi dell’Hoodening (nei paesi di San Nicola-a-Wade, Nether Hale, Sarre) in particolare la tradizione è molto radicata a San Nicola-a-Wade dove l’hooden horse si chiama Dobbin, un vecchio povero cavallo stremato dalla fatica del lavoro: è messa in scena una sorta di “sacra rappresentazione” con vari personaggi e canzoni; un tempo i gruppi dell’hoodening andavano di casa in casa con tanto di musici e fracasso di campanelli: il cavallo era accompagnato da un gruppo di contadini, chi tiene le redini (il domatore), chi porta un cesto di frutta, chi lo cavalca sulla schiena, c’è anche “Mollie” o la “vecchia dama” che porta una scopa di saggina. Ecco che il capo bussa e appena la porta si apre il cavallo scalcia e spaventa, spalancando la bocca, mentre Mollie scopa i piedi di chi ha aperto. (vedi)
The Horse regularly appeared through the year at, especially in Midwinter (Hallowtide, the Twelve Days of Christmas, et al). The Horse was a man dressed as an animal, covered in blanket and carrying a horse’s head, with reins, on a pole. The head was sometimes wooden but usually a real horse skull – hinged jaws allowed the mouth to snap open and shut. Along with other young men the horse ‘galloped’ and visited houses as a ‘lick-bringer’. This was not always successful and in 1839 at Broadstairs a woman was so terrified coming face-to-face with the ‘horse’ she died of fright. The custom was subsequently forbidden by local magistrates.
In East Kent Hoodening took place at Christmas. The Horse had a wooden head and sometimes a lighted candle was placed in the mouth. Farmworkers walked with the horse, one leading it by the reins or a rope and carrying a whip, and another worker light enough to ride on the horse’s back. A third known as Mollie or Old Woman was in female attire and carried a broom or besom.
In Reculver, only men who had worked with horses during the year were allowed to partake.  (in “A Dictionary of British Folk Customs” di Christina Hole, 1995 tratto da qui)
[The Horse appariva  regolarmente durante tutto l’anno, in particolare alla festa di Mezzo inverno  (Hallowtide, i dodici giorni di Natale, ecc.). Il cavallo era un uomo vestito da animale, coperto da una coperta che porta una testa di cavallo, con redini su di un palo. La testa a volte era di legno ma di solito era un vero teschio di cavallo – le mascelle incernierate permettevano alla bocca di aprirsi e chiudersi. Insieme ad altri giovani il cavallo “galoppava” e visitava le case come “dispensatore di botte”. Questo non ebbe sempre successo e nel 1839 a Broadstairs una donna fu così terrorizzata di trovarsi faccia a faccia con il “cavallo” che morì di paura. L’usanza è stata successivamente vietata dai magistrati locali.
A East Kent Hoodening si svolgeva a Natale. Il cavallo aveva una testa di legno e talvolta veniva messa in bocca una candela accesa . I contadini camminavano con il cavallo, uno lo conduceva per le redini o una corda e portava una frusta, e un altro abbastanza leggero lo cavalcava sulla schiena. Un terzo noto come Mollie o la Vecchia indossava abiti femminili e portava una scopa o una ramazza.
A Reculver potevano partecipare solo gli uomini che avevano lavorato con i cavalli durante l’anno .
Probabilmente un tempo solo le gilde dei cavallanti potevano partecipare all’hoodening, nel Cheshire il teschio del cavallo era seppellito con uno scherzoso servizio funebre.
Oggi l’Hoodening o Souling play è messo in scena nei pub, vedasi questa spassosa  Souling Play di Comberbach]

POOR OLD HORSE

Esistono molte versioni della canzone, la quale era una parte della rappresentazione dei Mummers, che mettevano in scena la morte e resurrezione del cavallo 

Shirley Collins in “False True Lovers” 1959

la versione è solo un frammento e manca la parte iniziale in cui i mummers/soulers chiedono di essere accolti in casa


I
My clothing was once of a linsey-woolsey fine,
My mane it was sleek
and my body it did shine.
But now I’m getting old
and I’m going to decay,
Me master frowns upon me
and thus they all do say, “Poor old horse.”
II
My living was once to the best of corn and hay
As ever grew in England,
and that they all did say.
But now there’s no such comfort
as I can find at all.
I’m forced to nab the short grass
that grows against the wall,
“Poor old horse.”
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
I miei drappi erano un tempo di fine lino,
la mia criniera era lucida
e il mio corpo era uno splendore,
ma ora mi sono fatto vecchio
e discendo la china,
il mio padrone mi guarda male
e così tutti dicono “Povero vecchio cavallo”.
II
Vivevo un tempo del miglior grano e fieno
che mai crescesse in Inghilterra
così tutti dicevano.
Ma ora non riesco a trovare
un simile conforto.
Sono costretto ad afferrare l’erba corta
che cresce contro il muro
“Povero vecchio cavallo”

Kate Rusby in Sweet Bells 2008


I
We’ve got a poor old horse,
He’s standing at your door,
And if you’ll only let him in,
He’ll please you all (1) I’m sure (x2)
II
Now that he’s grown old
And nature doth decay,
My master frowns upon him now,
These words I’ve heard him say (x2)
III
Now that he’s grown old
And scarcely can he crawl,
He’s forced to eat the coarsest grass
That grows against the wall (x2)
IV
This poor horse was once young,
And in his youthful prime
My master used to ride on him,
He thought him very fine (x2)
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Abbiamo un povero vecchio cavallo
che sta alla vostra porta,
e se soltanto lo lascerete entrare,
vi ricompenserà di certo (1).
II
Adesso che è diventato vecchio,
nel suo naturale decadimento,
il mio padrone lo guarda male
e questo gli ho sentito dire:
III
“Ora che lui è invecchiato,
e a malapena si regge in piedi,
dovrà mangiare l’erba più ruvida
che cresce contro il muro”
IV
Questo povero cavallo una volta era giovane,
e nel fulgore della sua giovinezza
il mio padrone lo usava per cavalcare
e pensava molto bene di lui

NOTE
1) nel verso si evidenzia il canto come canto di questua con rituale propiziatorio

La versione sea shanty  “Paying off the dead horse.

LA TRADIZIONE D’ESTATE

oldossOSS
Per le strade di Padstow, un piccolo porto di pescatori della Cornovaglia settentrionale sulla foce del fiume Camel ora a vocazione turistica ogni Calendimaggio è festeggiato con l’Obby Oss Festival (continua)

FONTI
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/epona.html
http://paleopix.com/blog/2013/10/31/lair-bhan-and-the-mast-beast/
https://thefadingyear.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/origins-of-trick-or-treating/
https://www.omniglot.com/songs/bcc/marilwyd.php
http://www.folkwales.org.uk/arctd9a.html
http://hoodening.org.uk/hooden-horses.html
http://www.hoodening.org.uk/hoodening-history1.html http://paulbommer.blogspot.it/2010/12/advent-calendar-22nd-mari-lwyd.html http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/cy/279/
http://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/pooroldhorse.html

Mele d’Inverno: rituali di Capodanno in Gran Bretagna

Read the post in English

APPLES IN WINTER

Il melo è un albero che è nato sui monti dell’Asia centrale e si è diffuso lungo la rotta commerciale detta “via della seta”, spostandosi così verso ovest. Si ritiene comunemente che furono gli antichi romani a portare il melo in Gran Bretagna, eppure i più recenti scavi archeologici ad Armagh (Irlanda del Nord) hanno trovato semi di mela risalenti al X secolo a.C.  Il melo compare infatti in molti insegnamenti druidici e nella poesia e mitologia celtica.
Fruttifica a settembre e le mele si conservano per lungo tempo in un luogo fresco e asciutto come le soffitte, diventando uno dei pochi frutti che si possono mangiare in inverno.

AILLIN E BAILE

La principale associazione con il melo è l’amore, essendo l’incarnazione del principio femminile; una narrazione medievale ci racconta la storia di Aillin e Baile, due fanciulli innamorati ai quali i druidi avevano profetizzato che non si sarebbero mai incontrati in vita, ma solo dopo la morte per non separarsi mai più: la macabra (o romantica) profezia si avverò magicamente con l’unione del legno di due alberi, il melo e il tasso cresciuti sulle loro tombe!
La leggenda è ambientata ai tempi dell’Irlanda celtica di re Cormac mac Airt (II-IV secolo), ma  è un po’  incoerente rispetto alle fonti archeologiche in nostro possesso, si racconta infatti della “taball filidh” (la tavoletta del poeta) -poteva trattarsi di una tavoletta di legno su cui si scriveva con il pennello o di una più elaborata tavoletta cerata in uso presso gli antichi greci e romani- una ricavata dal legno del melo di Aillin e l’altra dal legno del tasso di Baile che si saldarono indissolubilmente l’una all’altra non appena si trovarono entrambe vicine (a Samain durante la festa presieduta da Art, figlio di Conn delle Cento Battaglie, re di Erinn). Apprendiamo che, se il racconto fosse veritiero, i bardi d’Irlanda compilavano i loro certami su delle tavolette di legno, presumibilmente “usa e getta” perchè ci si scriveva sopra una volta sola; queste due tavolette provenivavo una dal Leinster (melo), l’altra dall’Ulster (tasso) e per la loro magica aderenza furono conservate come rarità nel tesoro di Tara.
La storia sembra essere una variante del nodo d’amore tra rovo e spina richiamato nelle ballate medievali che, cresciuti dalle rispettive tombe degli amanti sfortunati, si congiungono e intrecciano tra loro.

Ma l’associazione principale del melo con il mondo celtico è l’Isola delle mele, Avalon, la terra delle Fate. Così scrive Geoffrey of Monmouth nell’Historia Regum Britanniae (1136) “L’ isola delle mele è chiamata dagli uomini isola della fortuna (Insula Pomorum quae Fortunata vocatur), perchè essa gli regala i suoi generosi doni sotto forma di mele (Sua enim aptae natura pretiosarum poma silvarum parturiunt), uva, bacche ed altre erbe che permettono all’uomo di vivere oltre i cent’anni. Gli antichi poeti la descrissero come un Paradiso, per la fecondità delle sue terre”.

Cibo delle fate che può rendere immortali o rimettere in salute i malati la mela è alla base della preparazione del sidro, una bevanda poco alcolica ottenuta dalla fermentazione di frutti come mele, pere o le dimenticate nespole, tipica del Regno Unito, dei Paesi Baschi e della Normandia. continua

 

APPLE WASSAIL

La forma più antica della celebrazione invernale del Wassail prevede la benedizione degli alberi e delle api, così importanti per l’impollinazione, al fine di garantire un raccolto sano per il prossimo anno.
Nelle isole britanniche è ancora praticata la benedizione dei frutteti : durante il rito si canta e si recitano delle formule magiche, si fa un gran baccano battendo pentole e tegami (o sparando in aria) per allontanare gli spiriti cattivi, si versa del sidro intorno alle radici dell’albero più vecchio, si beve alla salute dei meli e del futuro raccolto, si mangiano focacce dolci, e si donano allo spirito dell’albero delle focacce inzuppate di sidro (per nutrire i pettirossi), posate sui rami della pianta in segno di ringraziamento.
Questa pratica di benedizione degli alberi del frutteto si svolgeva d’Inverno ma la data è incerta, alcuni studiosi la riportano alla vigilia di Natale, altri alla notte di Capodanno, altri ancora a gennaio per la dodicesima notte (6 gennaio) (continua)

HEL CALENNIG (GALLES) 


Il secondo rito viene dal Galles detto  “il regalo del nuovo anno” (Hel Calennig) basato sull’antica tradizione di scambiarsi un regalo per il primo di gennaio, alcuni studiosi ritengono che il rituale derivi dalle usanze praticate nell’Impero Romano per il capodanno. (vedi Strenia) Letteralmente “la caccia delle Calende” si riferisce alla tradizione gallese del primo giorno dell’anno nuovo: una mela infilzata su tre bastoncini a mo’ di trepiedi, steccata con dei semini (oggi più comunemente dei chiodi di garofano) è decorata con un rametto sempreverde.

Questo “trofeo” è portato in regalo (o mostrato) nella casa dei vicini dai bambini che cantano una canzoncina benaugurale. In cambio ricevono pane e formaggio o qualche monetina.

Blwyddyn newydd dda i chwi,
Gwyliau llawen i chwi,
Meistr a meistres bob un trwy’r ty,
Gwyliau llawen i chwi,
Codwch yn foreu, a rheswch y tan,
A cherddwch i’r ffynon i ymofyn dwr glan.


A happy new year to you,
May your holidays be merry,
Master and mistress – everyone in the house;
May your holidays be merry,
Arise in the morning; bestir the fire,
And go to the well to fetch fresh water
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Un felice anno nuovo a voi
che le vostre feste sano liete
signore e signora – e tutti gli altri della casa;
che le vostre feste siano liete.
Alzatevi al mattino e accendete il fuoco e andate al pozzo a prendere dell’acqua fresca.

 

Il Capodanno è anche giorno di Hoodening in Galles quando Mari Lwyd, o anche “Y Fari Lwyd” (in inglese “Grey Mare“= cavalla grigia) viene portata di casa in casa.

MARI LWYD

Paul Bommer: Calendario dell’Avvento

Mari Lwyd è la versione gallese dell’hooden horse. Tradizione ancora praticata nel Galles centrale e meridionale, in particolare a Llantrisant e Pontyclun a Capodanno. La maschera consiste in una testa di cavallo (un teschio vero) con la mascella movibile e degli inquietanti occhi ricavati da due pezzi di bottiglia verde, addobbata con nastri colorati e portata su un palo da una persona celata sotto un ampio mantello bianco. I questuanti si fermano a cantare davanti all’uscio delle case e chiamano la padrona e la sfidano in un pwnco una sorta di botta e risposta in versi spesso insolente. La vittoria della sfida canora consente ai questuanti di entrare in casa per mangiare i dolci e bere birra.
Come si vede nell’illustrazione la padrona di casa tiene in mano una scopa e non vuole far entrare il gruppo perchè portatore di disordine. La pratica come un po’ tutte le questue rituali del mondo contadino sott’intende un certo grado di ubriachezza e comportamenti molesti. Infatti non appena entrata la cavalla girerà per la stanza cercando di prendere le donne, è chiaramente una creatura mostruosa e ultraterrena che deve essere rabbonita con offerte. Talvolta un bambini piccolo si frappone con un dolcetto e riesce a calmare la bestia. continua



Gaelico gallese
I
Wel dyma ni’n dwad
Gyfeillion diniwad
I ofyn am gennod i ganu
II
Os na chawn ni gennad
Rhowch wybod ar ganiad
Pa fodd mae’r ‘madawiad, nos heno
III
‘Does genni ddim cinio
Nac arian iw gwario
I wneud i chwi roeso, nos heno


I
Here we come
Dear friends
To ask permissions to sing
II
If we don’t have permission,
Let us know in song
How we should go away tonight
III
I have no dinner
Or money to spend
To give you welcome tonight
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Siamo qui
cari amici
a chiedervi il permesso di cantare
II
Se non abbiamo il permesso
ditecelo con il canto
che dobbiamo andarcene stasera
III
Non ho cena (1)
o soldi da spendere
per darvi il benvenuto stasera

NOTE
1) se la gente della casa restava sconfitta nella tenzone poetica, la Mari Lwyd rivendicava il diritto di restare a cena con tutto il suo seguito. In alternativa era offerto un glennig, (una piccola mancia), un bicchiere di glaster, (acqua e latte) o di birra.

A Cwm Gwaun (Gwaun Valley), sopra Abergwaun (Fishguard), la comunità celebra lo Yr Hen Galan (il vecchio capodanno) il 13 gennaio, secondo il calendario precedente al 1752.
Anche in Galles come in Scozia è ancora radicata l’usanza del Firstfoot: qui deve essere un uomo dal nome fortunato (Dafydd, Sion, Ifan o Siencyn), o in mancanza anche una donna dal nome fortunato (Sian, Sioned, Mair o Marged);  al Capodanno era praticata anche la caccia allo scricciolo.

APPLES IN WINTER JIG

La melodia “Apples in winter” è una jig irlandese conosciuta anche con molti altri titoli (vedi)

David Power uillean pipe & Willie Kelly violino in “Apples in winter” (un godibile cd di jigs e reel + qualche air della tradizione irlandese)

Dervish

Anglo concertina, Cittern, & Guitar

Ardan

continua

FONTI
http://bifrost.it/CELTI/4.Eriuiltempoelospazio/05-Soprannaturale.html
http://www.unamelaalgiorno.com/la-mela-nella-cultura-celtica.html
http://icoloridelvento-mirial.blogspot.it/2015/10/il-melo-e-il-frutto-della-conoscenza.html
http://www.laltrafacciadellamela.altervista.org/
https://isimbolinellacomunicazione.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/la-mela/
http://www.amando.it/ricette/alimenti/mela.html
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/johnny-jump.htm
https://museum.wales/articles/2014-06-14/Christmas-customs-Hel-Calennig/
https://lilydewaruile.wordpress.com/tag/calennig/

SPARTITI
https://thesession.org/tunes/299
http://tunearch.org/wiki/Apples_in_Winter_(1)
http://spokanesessions.com/tune.php?tune=1
http://www.celticguitarmusic.com/tbj_apples_winter.htm

WELCOME YULE

hollykingDuring the Christmas revel in Tudor age, the large Yule Log was brought into the houses, keeping on burning for the twelve days of the Yule. So the winter solstice set by the calendar on December 21st marked the first day of the winter holidays and the twelfth night was January 2nd, but already in the Middle Ages the twelve days began with December 25th the “Holy Day” (and the birth of Jesus coinciding with the birth of the New Sun) to end, like today, January 6, at the Epiphany “that all parties sweep away”. But the “month” of Christmas actually went from Epiphany to February 2, the day when Mary was welcomed back to the Temple, the day when according to the ancient tradition Winter ends.
[Durante le feste natalizie in Epoca Tudor il grosso ceppo di Yule (Yule Log) veniva portato nelle case e tenuto acceso per i dodici giorni dello Yule. Così il solstizio d’inverno fissato dal calendario il 21 dicembre segnava il primo giorno delle feste invernali e la dodicesima notte era il 2 gennaio, però già nel Medioevo i dodici giorni iniziavano con il 25 dicembre il “Giorno Santo” (e la nascita di Gesù finì per coincidere con la nascita del Nuovo Sole) per concludersi, come oggi, il 6 gennaio, all’Epifaniache tutte le feste spazza via“. Ma il “mese” del Natale in realtà andava dall’Epifania fino al 2 Febbraio giorno in cui Maria fu riaccolta al Tempio giorno in cui secondo l’antica tradizione finisce l’Inverno.]

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
I DODICI GIORNI DEL NATALE

In the Middle Ages the twelve days of Christmas were for the nobility, occasion of party with daily gala dinners, music, dances and many songs (with masks, pantomimes and irregularities), but the most sumptuous its took place on December 25th, 1st and 6th in January. And although Henry VIII had founded his Church, he maintained the Catholic rites and customs of Christmas. (see)
[Nel Medioevo i dodici giorni del Natale erano per la nobiltà, occasione di festa con quotidiane cene di gala, musica, danze e tanti canti (con maschere, pantomime e sregolatezze), ma le più sontuose si svolgevano il 25 dicembre il 1 e il 6 di gennaio. E sebbene Enrico VIII avesse fondato la sua Chiesa, mantenne i riti cattolici e le consuetudini del Natale. ]

WELCOME YULE

Welcome Be Thou, Heaven-King” is a Christmas carol whose text was found in the “Sloane Manuscript” dating back to the early 15th century or rather to the time of Henry VI. It was hypothesized that “Welcome Yule” was a song of medieval mummers in a sort of representation between the sacred and the profane, in which the actors played the 12 days of Christmas, or at least the King of Heaven with the crown that represented the rays of the sun, and the character of the New Year adorned with branches of holly.
[“Welcome Be Thou, Heaven-king” è un canto natalizio il cui testo è stato trovato nel “Manoscritto Sloane” risalente agli inizi del Quattrocento ovvero al tempo di Enrico VI. E’ stato ipotizzato che “Welcome Yule” fosse un canto dei mummers medievali in una sorta di rappresentazione tra il sacro e il profano, in cui gli attori impersonavano i 12 giorni del Natale o quantomeno il Re del Cielo con la corona che raffigurava i raggi del sole e il personaggio dell’Anno Nuovo adornato con rami di agrifoglio.]

Subsequently there were several melodies combined with the text: for example that of Thomas Ravenscroft, (Deuteromelia 1609) see, another score is in “The English Carol Book”, edition of Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer with music by Sydnay H. Nicholson see or arrangement by Sir Cherles H. Parry (1848-1918)
[Successivamente sono state diverse le melodie abbinate al testo: ad esempio quella di Thomas Ravenscroft, (Deuteromelia 1609). vedi, un altro spartito si trova nel “The English Carol Book“, edizione di Martin Shaw e Percy Dearmer con musica di Sydnay H. Nicholson vedi o l’arrangiamento di Sir Cherles H. Parry (1848-1918)]

The Ranelagh singers (Sir Cherles H. Parry tune)

The Rankin Sisters
a country version from Nova Scotia, Canada
[versione country (dalla Nuova Scozia, Canada)]


I
Welcome be thou, heaven-king(1),
Welcome born in one morning,
Welcome for whom we shall sing,
Welcome Yule
II
Welcome be ye, Stephan(2) and John(3),
Welcome Innocents(4) every one
Welcome Thomas Martyr(5) one,
Welcome Yule.
III
Welcome be ye, good New Year(6),
Welcome Twelfth Day, both in fere,(7)
Welcome saints lef(8) and dear,
Welcome Yule.
IV
Welcome be ye Candlemas(9),
Welcome be ye, Queen of Bliss (10),
Welcome both to more and less,(11)
Welcome Yule.
V
Welcome be ye that are here,
Welcome all and make good cheer;
Welcome all, another year,
Welcome Yule.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Benvenuto celeste sovrano
Benvenuto, nato al mattino,
Benvenuto da coloro che canteranno
“Benvenuto Yule”
II
Benvenuti a voi, Stefano e Giovanni
Benvenuti,  Santi Innocenti, uno ad uno
Benvenuto, Tommaso Martire,
Benvenuto Yule.
III
Benvenuto a te, buon Anno Nuovo
Benvenuti 12 giorni, tutti insieme, Benvenuti Santi amati e cari, Benvenuto Yule
IV
Benvenuto a te Candelora
Benvenuto a te Regina della Grazia
Benvenuti grandi e piccini
Benvenuto Yule
V
Benvenuti a voi che siete qui
Benvenuti a tutti e tanti auguri
Benvenuti a tutti un altro anno
Benvenuto Yule

NOTE
1) the king of Heaven originally had to be the Sun reborn after the Winter Solstice, it is the Yule, become Jesus who was born on December 25th in the morning
[il re del Cielo originariamente doveva essere il Sole rinato dopo il Solstizio d’Inverno, è lo Yule, diventato Gesù che nasce il 25 dicembre di mattino]
2) St Stephan, the first Christian martyr is celebrated on December 26 with Boxing Day
[Santo Stefano, il primo martire cristiano è festeggiato il 26 dicembre con il Boxing Day]
3) St. John the Evangelist is celebrated on December 27th [San Giovanni Evangelista è festeggiato il 27 dicembre]
4) the day of the Innocents massacred by Herod is commemorated on December 28th see [ il giorno degli Innocenti massacrati da Erode è commemorato il 28 dicembre continua]
5) St. Thomas was celebrated on December 21 (the Vatican has only recently moved St Thomas’s Day to July 3), while San Tomas Becket is commemorated on December 29 [San Tommaso era festeggiato il 21 dicembre (il Vaticano ha spostato solo recentemente il St Thomas’s Day al 3 luglio), mentre San Tomas Becket è commemorato il 29 dicembre]
6) the eighth day of Christmas is January 1, the beginning of the new year, traditionally depicted with holly branches [l’ottavo giorno di Natale è il 1 gennaio, l’inizio del nuovo anno, tradizionalmente raffigurato con rami d’agrifoglio]
7) in fere= in company, together. In the song the Mummers played the 12 days of Christmas
[Nel canto i Mummers impersonavano i 12 giorni del Natale]
8) Loved
9)  the feast of Candlemas is the feast of the purification of the virgin that coincides with February 2: according to Jewish custom the woman who gives birth is considered unclean until the 40th day. The festival is celebrated 40 days after Christmas but traditionally marked the end of Winter: this is the alarm bell that reminds us how once in February we celebrated Imbolc and Bride (see more).
la festa della Candelora è la festa della purificazione della vergine che coincide con il 2 febbraio: secondo la consuetudine ebraica la donna che partorisce è considerata impura fino al 40esimo giorno. La festa è celebrata 40 giorni dopo il Natale ma tradizionalmente segnava la fine dell’Inverno. E’ questo il campanellino d’allarme che ci ricorda come un tempo a febbraio si festeggiasse Imbolc e Bride. continua
In seguito al contatto con una donna in questo stato, il mosto inacidisce, i semi diventano sterili, gli alberi appassiscono, quelli da frutto si seccano e i loro frutti cadono solo che essa si sieda sotto;.. solo che ne venga guardato uno sciame d’api immediatamente morrà, mentre il bronzo e il ferro immediatamente arrugginiranno ..un cane che ne assaggi il sangue, impazzirà ed il suo morso diventerà velenoso come nella rabbia. Inoltre, il bitume che in certi periodi dell’anno si vede galleggiare sulla superficie del lago di Galilea può essere ridotto in pezzi unicamente mediante un filo che sia stato immerso in detta infetta materia. Un filo da un vestito infetto è sufficiente. Il lino,toccato da una donna durante la bollitura o la lavatura in acqua diventa nero. Così magico è il potere delle donne durante i periodi mestruali che la grandine ed i turbini sono trascinati se il sangue mestruale è esposto ai bagliori dei lampi” da Plinio il Vecchio, Storia Naturale , libro 28, cap. 23, 78-80; libro 7, cap. 65
10) Mary is also part of the Christmas Blessings even if her revel will take place a month later in February [anche Maria rientra  nelle Benedizioni natalizie anche se la sua festa si svolgerà un mese dopo a febbraio]
11) or Great and small.

part three (terza parte)

LINK
http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/CHRISTMAS+with+The+Tudors
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1236809/Stuffed-peacock-fake-snow-lashings-dancing-girls–Henry-VIII-VERY-merry-Christmas-indeed.html
http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/CHRISTMAS+with+The+Tudors
http://www.womenpriests.org/it/traditio/unclean.asp
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/
Hymns_and_Carols/welcome_yule.htm

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=40923

http://forums.canadiancontent.net/history/148524-medieval-christmas-how-celebrated.html

Padstow May Day Songs

Read the post in English

MayDay_MarshallMAY DAY SONG  (May Day Carol) IN INGHILTERRA
(suddivisione in contee)
Introduzione (preface)
inghilterraBedforshide
Cambridgshire, Cheshire  
Lancashire, Yorkshire
Flag_of_Cornwall_svgObby Oss Festival
Padstow may day  songs
Helston Furry Dance 

Durante le celebrazioni del Maggio si svolge una festa particolare a Padstow, un piccolo porto di pescatori della Cornovaglia settentrionale sulla foce del fiume Camel ora a vocazione turistica: l’Obby Oss Festival. prima parte

CANZONI DEL MAGGIO A PADSTOW

In questa seconda parte vado a riportare un paio di canti inglobati nella tradizione di Padstow ma che sono stati scritti più recentemente nel XX secolo!

HAIL! HAIL! THE FIRST OF MAY

Dave Webber, fondatore con la moglie Anni Fentiman del gruppo Beggar’s Velvet, scrisse una May Song ispirandosi alla tradizione dell’oss per il loro album d’esordio “Lady of Autumn” uscito nel 1990. Il brano fu così convincente che venne adottato tra i canti delle celebrazioni per il Padstow May , noto anche con il titolo di “Drink To The Old ‘Oss” (vedi)
Magpie Lane in Jack in the Green 1998


I
Winter time has gone and past-o,
Summer time has come at last-o.
We shall sing and dance the day
And follow the ‘obby ‘orse that brings the May.
Chorus:
So, Hail! Hail! The First of May-o!
For it is the first summer’s day-o!
Cast you cares and fears away,
Drink to the old horse on the First of May!
II
Blue bells(1) they have started to ring-o,
And true love, it is the thing-o.
Love on any other day
Is never quite the same as on the First of May!
III
Never let it come to pass-o
We should fail to raise a glass-o!
Unto those now gone away
And left us the ‘obby ‘orse that brings the May!
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
L’inverno è venuto e andato -o
e infine è arrivata l’estate-o,
danzeremo e canteremo per tutto il giorno e seguiremo il cavallino che porta il Maggio.
CORO
Così Evviva il primo di Maggio-o
Il primo giorno dell’estate-o,
getta via i tuoi affanni e le tue paure,
bevi al vecchio cavallo il primo di Maggio
II
Le campanule hanno iniziato a suonare -o
questa è la questione, il vero amore-o!
Amore in un qualsiasi altro giorno
non è mai la stessa cosa, di quello del Primo di Maggio
III
Non lasciarlo venire e andare-o
senza prima sollevare il bicchiere-o!
Nel mentre se ne va,
ci lascia il cavalluccio che porta il Maggio

NOTE
1) La Hyacinthoides di origine spagnola viene talvolta chiamata Spanish Bluebells per distinguerla anche nel nome volgare dalla Hyacinthoides non-scripta, nota come English Bluebells.

QUEEN OF THE MAY

Anche questo canto è stato scritto recentemente da Larry McLaughlin nel 1982, che l’ha dedicato alla moglie Maureen in occasione delle loro nozze d’argento!

Ecco un gustoso aneddoto in merito raccontato dal figlio di Larry McLaughlin ”Una sera che io e papà eravamo alla festa di Padstow abbiamo cantato ovviamente ‘Queen of the May.’ quando una signora con un deciso accento cornico si avvicna e ci dice “Ehi hai sbagliato le parole” “Oh davvero -rispose mio padre- ma io le ho scritte!” Il marito della signora replicò “Non puoi essere stato tu ad averlo scritto perchè mi ricordo che la cantava mio padre” E qualcuno replicò “Ma se non sai nemmeno chi fosse tuo padre!” Era proprio una tipica serata a Padstow.
La canzone come sia fu assorbita nelle tradizioni di Padstow, ma non si dovrebbe dimenticare che è la canzone della mamma, il suo titolo originario è ‘Maureen’s Song.’ un caro regalo di papà per celebrare le loro nozze d’argento – come dice lui stesso, senza spendere un soldo!”


I
Winter is over and summer has come
And the Obby Oss waits in his stable for dawn
Rise up my love early and deck yourself gay
And I’ll take you to Padstow today
Chorus: And put your arms round me. I’ll dance you away
For you are my Queen of the May
II
Skip out o’er the fields and the woods and the dells
Pick primroses, daises, cowslips and bluebells
And from the green woods cut a sycamore spray
And I’ll take you to Padstow today
III
We’ll breakfast on ale and an old chorus song
Musicians will come with accordion and drum
We’ll meet the old Oss and we’ll welcome the May
When I take you to Padstow today
IV
When the years have rolled on love and we are both old
And the stories of May day and Padstow are told
And though I’m old and feeble you’ll still hear me say
I’llt take you to Padstow today
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
L’inverno è finito e l’estate è arrivata e l’Obby Oss attende nella sua scuderia per l’alba:
alzati mio amore presto, e vestiti in modo vivace
e ti porterò a Padstow oggi.
Coro
Abbracciami e balleremo
poiché tu sei la mia Regina di Maggio
II
Saltella sui campi ei boschi
e le conche,
scegli primule, margherite, primule e campanule
e dal bosco verde taglia un ramo di sicomoro
e io ti porterò a Padstow oggi.
III
Faremo colazione con la birra e una vecchia canzone,
i musicisti ci accompagneranno con fisarmonica e tamburo.
Ci incontreremo con il vecchio Oss e daremo il benvenuto al Maggio quando ti porterò a Padstow oggi.
IV
Quando gli anni saranno scivolati sul nostro amore e saremo vecchi
e saranno raccontare le storie del giorno di Maggio e di Padstow
anche se sarò vecchio e debole, mi sentirai ancora dire
“Ti porto a Padstow oggi”

FONTI
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/padstow.html http://celtic.org/hobby.pdf http://www.padstowlive.com/events/padstow-may-day http://grapewrath.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/chris-wood-andy-cutting-following-the-old-oss/ https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/hailhailthefirstofmay.html http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=46931#698474 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=60993 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=46931
http://www.sffmc.org/archives/may09/QueenOfMay.pdf

Carole di Primavera nel Bedforshide

Read the post in English

MayDay_MarshallMAY DAY SONG  (May Day Carol) IN INGHILTERRA
(suddivisione in contee)
Introduzione (preface)
inghilterraBedforshide
Cambridgshire, Cheshire  
Lancashire, Yorkshire
Flag_of_Cornwall_svgObby Oss Festival
Padstow may day songs 
Helston Furry Dance

BEDFORSHIDE

Moggers-Moggies[Z49-685]Il Primo Maggio si seguivano alcune tradizioni. I bambini portavano la ghirlanda del Maggio ossia un cerchio formato con rami decorati con nastri e fiori, nel centro erano appese due bamboline, una grande che rappresentava la Vergine Maria e una più piccola che rappresentava Cristo bambino, un panno bianco era fissato sulla sommità per coprire tutta la ghirlanda. I bambini si fermavano ad ogni casa e chiedevano dei soldi per mostrare la ghirlanda sollevando il panno.
Un’altra tradizione diffusa in tutta la contea era il Maying, si faceva regolarmente fino allo scoppio della prima guerra mondiale e dopo solo sporadicamente: i giovani andavano in giro la notte con i rami del Maggio e cantavano i canti del Maggio, al mattino un ramo del maggio era attaccato al palo portabandiera della scuola, un altro decorava l’insegna della locanda “at the Crown” e altri erano appoggiati contro le porte in modo che finissero in casa quando si aprivano. Questi maggianti includevano un Signore e una Signora (il più giovane dei ragazzi con un velo sul volto e una cuffietta), tra i mummers anche i Moggers o Moggies un uomo e una donna con le facce annerite vestiti di stracci e con le scope 
(tradotto da qui)

VIDEO Ecco una testimonianza molto significativa di Margery “Mum” Johnstone dal Bedforshide raccolta da Pete Caslte, con due canzoni del Maggio

La danza del Palo durante  la festa del Maggio a Elstow, Bedfordshire, nel 1952 (Edward Malindine/Getty)

Ancora dalla testimonianza della signora Margery Johnstone questa May Garland ovvero “This Morning Is The 1st of May” trascritta da Fred Hamer  nel suo  “Garners Gay”

Lisa Knapp in Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017

MAY GARLAND*
I
This morning is the first of May,
The prime time of the year:
and If I live and tarry here
I’ll call another year
II
The fields and meadows
are so green
so green as any leek
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet
III
A man a man his life’s a span
he flourishes like a flower,
he’s here today and gone tomorrow
he’s gone all in an hour
IV
The clock strikes one, I must be gone,
I can no longer stay;
to come and — my pretty May doll
and look at my brunch of May
V
I have a purse in my pocket
That’s stroll with a silken string;
And all that it lacks
is a little of your money
To line it well within.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Stamattina è il Primo di Maggio
il momento più importante dell’anno
e se vivrò e resterò qui
vi visiterò un altro anno
II
I campi e i prati
sono così verdi
come il tenero porro
il nostro Padre del Cielo li innaffia
con la sua dolce rugiada celeste
III
L’uomo tuttavia è solo un uomo, la sua vita è breve, è molto simile a un fiore
è qui oggi e domani non c’è più,
così tutto finisce nel giro di un ora.
IV
L’orologio batte l’una, devo andare
non posso restare più a lungo
vieni e — la mia bambola del Maggio
e guarda il mio ramo del Maggio
V
Ho una borsa in tasca
che è legata con un nastro di seta
e tutto ciò che le manca
è un po’ del tuo denaro
da infilare dentro

NOTE
* una trascrizione ancora parziale per l’incomprensione della pronuncia di alcune parole

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY DAY CAROL

La carol è conosciuta con il nome più generico di “The May Day Carol” o “Bedford May Carol” ma anche come “The Kentucky May Carol” (come preservata nella tradizione del maggio nei Monti Appalachi) ed è stata raccolta nel Bedfordshire.
Una prima versione ci viene dalla tradizione di Hinwick come collezionata da Lucy Broadwood  (1858 –  1929)  e trascritta in “English Traditional Songs and Carols” ( Londra: Boosey & Co., 1908).

Lisa Knapp & Mary Hampton in “Till April Is Dead – A Garland of May”, 2017


I
I’ve been rambling all the night,
And the best part of the day;
And now I am returning back again,
I have brought you a branch of May.
II
A branch of May, my dear, I say,
Before your door I stand,
It’s nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out,
By the work of our Lord’s hand (1).
III
Go down in your dairy and fetch me a cup, A cup of your sweet cream, (2)
And, if I should live to tarry in the town,/I will call on you next year.
IV
The hedges and the fields they are so green,/As green as any leaf,
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet (3).
V
When I am dead and in my grave,
And covered with cold clay,
The nightingale will sit and sing,
And pass the time away.
VI
Take a Bible in your hand,
And read a chapter through,
And, when the day of Judgment comes,
The Lord will think on you.
VII
I have a bag on my right arm,
Draws up with a silken string,
Nothing does it want but a little silver
To line it well within.
VIII
And now my song is almost done,
I can no longer stay,
God bless you all both great and small,
I wish you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Ho vagato per tutta la notte
e per buona parte di questo giorno
e  ora  ritorno ancora qui
per portarvi il ramo del maggio
II
Lo spino del Maggio mia cara, dico,
è davanti alla tua porta
non è che un germoglio ma è ben sbocciato
per il lavoro di nostro Signore
III
Vai nella dispensa e portami una coppa,
una coppa della tua dolce crema,
e se dovessi restare in città
ritornerò da voi un altro anno.
IV
Le siepi e i campi sono così verdi
e ogni foglia è rifiorita
il Nostro Padre dei Cieli li innaffia
con la sua dolce rugiada celeste
V
E quando sarò morto e nella tomba
e ricoperto dalla fredda terra
l’usignolo si fermerà a cantare
e il tempo trascorrerà via
VI
Prendi la Bibbia in mano
e leggi un capitolo
e quando il giorno del giudizio verrà
il Signore penserà a te
VII
Ho una borsa sul braccio destro
stretta con un nastro di seta
non vuole altro che un po’ d’argento
da infilare dentro
VIII
E ora che la canzone è quasi finita
non posso restare più a lungo
Dio vi benedica, grandi e piccini
e vi auguro un felice Maggio!

NOTE
1) le mani diventano quelle di Dio e non più della Madonna, come nella versione del Cambridgshire, inevitabili le contaminazioni con il credo della religione dominante
2) questa crema dolce e fresca in bicchiere è una bevanda-dessert tipicamente inglese d’epoca elisabettiana ancora popolare in epoca vittoriana, il Syllabub. Un tempo ai Mayers si offriva “una syllabub di latte caldo direttamente dalla mucca, torte dolci e vino” (Il ramo d’Oro James Frazer). E così sono andata a curiosare per ritrovare la ricetta storica: si tratta di un  frappè di latte, vino (o sidro o birra) zuccherato e profumato con succo di limone. Il succo di limone serviva a far cagliare il latte in modo che si formasse una crema in superficie,  nel tempo la ricetta è diventata più solida, cioè una crema con la panna montanta aromatizzata con del liquore o vino dolce (vedi ricette)

Philip Mercier (1680-1760) – The Sense of Taste sullo sfondo un vassoio pieno di bicchieri di syllabubs

3) il riferimento alla rugiada non è casuale , la tradizione del maggio prevede il bagno nella rugiada e nelle acque selvatiche ricche di pioggia. La notte è quella magica del 30 aprile e la rugiada veniva raccolta dalle fanciulle e conservata come un toccasana in grado di risvegliare la bellezza femminile! (vedi Beltane)

Shirley Collins  live 2002 la melodia è la stessa della Cambridgeshire May Carol (purtroppo il mio orecchio non riesce a distinguere bene alcune frasi.. lasciate in punteggiatura)


I
A branch of may, so fine and gay
And before your door it stands.
It’s but a sprout, it’s well-budded out, for the work of our Lord’s hand(1).
II
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And take the May Bush in,
For if it is gone before morning come
You’ll say we have never been.
III
I have a little bird(?)
?…
IV
If not a cup of your cold cream (2)
A jug of your stout ale
And if we live to tarry in the town
We’ll call on you another year.
V(3)
For the life of a man it is but a span
he’s cut down like the flower
We’re here today, tomorrow we’re gone,
We’re dead all in one hour.
VI
The moon shine bright,
the stars give a light
A little before this day
so please to remember ….
And send you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Un ramo del Maggio, così bello e allegro, sta davanti alla tua porta,
non è in germoglio, ma è ben sbocciato
per il lavoro di nostro Signore
II
Alzati, bella fanciulla e fai entrare il Maggio perchè se ne andrà prima che venga il mattino, potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato.
III
?
?
IV
Se non una coppa di crema fredda  (dateci) un boccale di birra scura
e se continueremo a  restare in città
ritorneremo da voi un altro anno.
V
Perchè la vita di un uomo è breve
ed è recisa come un fiore
siamo qui oggi e domani non ci saremo più
saremo tutti morti nel giro di un ora
VI
La luna brilla luminosa, le stelle si accendono
tra poco sarà giorno
così ricordatevi ..
e vi auguriamo un gioioso Maggio

NOTE
1) le mani diventano quelle di Dio e non più della Madonna.
2) il Syllabub (vedi sopra)
3) la strofa deriva da “The Moon Shine Bright” versione pubblicata da William Sandys in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) vedi

NORTHILL MAY SONG

Magpie Lane in “Jack-in-the-Green” 1998 (strofe I, II, III e IX) e a seguire The Cuckoo’s Nest hornpipe (vedi)  
La canzone viene riproposta nel Blog “A Folk song a Week”   curato dallo stesso Andy Turner  in cui Andy ci dice di aver appreso la canzone dalla raccolta di Fred Hamer “Garners Gay”
Fred la collezionò da “Chris Marsom e altri” – Mr Marsom era già emigrato in Canada,ma Fred lo incontrò in visita a Northill, il suo paese natale nel Bedfordshire. Le note di Fred dicono “The Day Song è troppo lunga per essere inclusa qui e la Night Song ha la stessa melodia. E’ stata usata da Vaughan Williams come la melodia No. 638 nell’ English Hymnal, ma con il nome di “Southill” perchè gli era stata mandata da un uomo di Southill. Chris Marsom che me la cantò aveva molte storielle sull’accoglienza delle signore forestiere che vivevano da poco nel villaggio perchè si spaventavano quando i Maggianti si avvicinavano alla loro casa nel cuore della notte alla vigilia del 1° Maggio”

Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick in “Because It’s There” 1995, ♪ (traccia 2 May Song)
Martin Carthy scrive nelle note dell’album “May Song viene dalla registrazione di Cynthia Gooding che ho perso circa 16 anni fa, ma le parole mi sono rimaste in testa.” (strofe da II a VIII)

MAY SONG
I
Arise, arise, my pretty fair maids,
And take our May bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been rambling all of the night,
The best(and most) part of this day;
And we are returning here back again
And we’ve brought you a garland gay (brunch of May).
III
A brunch of May we bear about(it does looked gay)
Before the (your) door it stands;
It is but a sprout and it’s all budded out
And it’s the work of God’s own hand.
IV
Oh wake up you, wake up pretty maid,
To take the May bush in.
For it will be gone and tomorrow morn
And you will have none within.
V
The heavenly gates are open wide
To let escape the dew(1).
It makes no delay it is here today
And it falls on me and you.
VI
For the life of a man is but a span,
He’s cut down like the flower;
He makes no delay he is here today
And he’s vanished all in an hour.
VII
And when you are dead and you’re in your grave
You’re covered in the cold cold clay.
The worms they will eat your flesh good man
And your bones they will waste away.
VIII
My song is done and I must be gone,
I can no longer stay.
God bless us all both great and small
And wish us a gladsome May.
IX
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Alzati mia graziosa fanciulla
e prendi il nostro spino del Maggio
che all’alba di domani tutto finisce e potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato
II
Abbiamo vagato per tutta la notte
e per buona parte di questo giorno
e siamo di ritorno ancora qui
per portarti una allegra ghirlanda (il ramo del maggio)
III
Lo spino del Maggio portiamo in giro (porta l’allegria)
e sta davanti alla tua porta non è che un germoglio ma è ben sbocciato per il lavoro di nostro Signore
IV
Alzati bella fanciulla per far entrare il Maggio, perchè se ne andrà prima che venga il mattino e potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato.
V
Le porte del paradiso sono spalancate
per far fuggire la rugiada
è qui oggi, puntuale
e cade su di me e te
VI
Perchè la vita di un uomo è breve
ed è recisa come un fiore
non ci sono proroghe oggi c’è
e poi svanisce nel giro di un’ora
VII
E quando sarai morto
e nella tomba
sarai ricoperto dalla fredda terra
i vermi mangeranno la tua carne, buonuomo
e le tue ossa si consumeranno.
VIII
La canzone è finita ed è tempo di andare, non posso restare più a lungo. Siate benedetti, grandi e piccini
e vi auguriamo un felice Maggio!
IX
L’orologio batte l’una, è tempo di andare
non possiamo restare più a lungo
Siate benedetti, grandi e piccini
e vi auguriamo un felice Maggio!

NOTE
1) secondo la precedente religione l’acqua riceveva maggior potere dal sole di Beltane. Si facevano pellegrinaggio alle sorgenti sacre e con l’acqua della sorgente si aspergevano i campi per favorire la pioggia.

Kerfuffle in “To the Ground”, 2008

ARISE, ARISE (Northill May Song)
I
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And bring your May Bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow, morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been wandering all this night
And almost all of the day
And now we’re returning back again;
We’ve brought you a branch of May.
III
A branch of May we have brought you,
And at your door it stands;
It’s nothing but a sprout but it’s well budded out
By the work of our Lord’s hand.
IV
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Alzati, dolce fanciulla,
a prendere lo Spino del Maggio,
che all’alba di domani tutto finisce
e potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato.
II
Abbiamo vagato per tutta la notte
e per buona parte del giorno
e siamo di ritorno ancora qui
per portarti il ramo del maggio
III
Un ramo del Maggio ti abbiamo portato, ed è davanti alla tua porta,
non è in germoglio,
ma è ben sbocciato
per mano di Nostro Signore
IV
L’orologio batte l’una, è tempo di andare
non possiamo restare più a lungo
Siate benedetti, grandi e piccini
e vi auguriamo un felice Maggio!

victorian-art-artist-painting-print-by-myles-birket-foster-first-of-may-garland-day

FONTI
https://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/maysong.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/themoonshinesbright.html
https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/NonChristmas/bedfordshire_may_day_carol.htm
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/cambridgeshiremaycarol.html
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/moon_shines_bright.htm
http://ingeb.org/songs/themoons.html
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/week-36-northill-may-song/