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Oie Houney Or Hop Tu Naa


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What is considered a more traditional Hop tu naa costume? (both originally... and in past years 70s/80s/90s)

 

I remember we used to go out as little vampires or witches. I'm trying to be careful that the children and I will be more 'hop tu naa' than 'halloween' this year!

Just be yourself. That scares the shit out of me already.

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Thought I'd bump up this topic to ask a question about hop tu naa rather than start out a new one.

 

What is considered a more traditional Hop tu naa costume? (both originally... and in past years 70s/80s/90s)

 

I remember we used to go out as little vampires or witches. I'm trying to be careful that the children and I will be more 'hop tu naa' than 'halloween' this year!

Costumes are a recent addition to the event. The important things are the carved turnip (definitely not a bloody pumpkin!) and the song.

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All together now...

 

"Hop tu naa, me mothers gone away

And she wont be back until the morning

ginny the witch flew over the house

to catch the stick to ladder the mouse

Hop tu naa..."

 

Im sure those are the words we used to sing. If they're wrong, can anybody offer the correct version?

 

:)

 

 

was it 'to lather' the mouse maybe ?

 

I did read some time ago that someone had unravelled the origin of the wording of the song, there was a lady called something like 'Ginny', but I can't remember where I read about it now.

 

Any sleuths out there know where it was ?

It's Jinny or real name Joney Lowney from Braddan.

The song tells of poor Jinny being inprisoned for witchcraft in 1715/16 for allegedly affecting the Corn at Ballaughtons Mill.

You can find more about her and others in the various fables and stories in the Manx Notebook

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How far does dressing-up go back in history? I presume that 300 years ago people were not dressing-up as dead spirits.

Isn't it more of a recent (nineteenth century, twentieth century) thing, possibly one that has come from Halloween?

 

 

 

Its an ancient Celtic festival of the dead, and of the harvest, as it was the traditional time for slaughtering cattle, which the Church tried to co-opt as a Christian 'All Hallow's Eve'. Most of the UK used to have the same thing, but became a compulsory celebration of the political constitiution; 'Guy Fawkes Night' aka Bonfire Night - in areas where this was not so popular, eg Ireland, Scotland Mannin and North America, we have had an uninterrupted tradition of Halloween / Oíche Shamhna / Oie Houney (Hop Tu Naa).

 

Another name for Hop Tu Naa in Manx is Shibbyr ny Gauin 'the supper of the heifer', as it was traditional to slaughter a heifer and burn the bones on Hop Tu Naa night. That custom must have been widespread in Britain and Ireland at one time, as it is said that the word 'bonfire' is a translation of tine cnámh - 'bone fire'.

 

Apple ducking, root vegetable carving, feasting, bonfires, singing Hop Tu Naa in return for gifts, and indeed, dressing up as dead or undead spirits - I'd say they are all suitable activities for the festival of Sauin.

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It's good how these sorts of things get updated and reflect the times. I'm sure that even for the ancients it was mostly about having a bit of fun even if they did have to pretend for the sake of their soothsayers and wizards that it was about the harvest and stuff.

 

The Lewes bonfire night in Sussex has always been very impressive and manages to retain a fair deal of the traditional rural rowdiness and good humor which healthy and safety has gradually eroded in many places. It's always interesting to see who gets burned (in effigy) each year. I'm betting on a few Nick Griffins this year.

 

The island could maybe send over a cultural delegation with a big effigy of Chancellor Darling. As a gift.

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Many moons ago when it first opened I worked at Ballaquayle school and every year we had a best decorated turnip competition. The smell in the school was horrendous and all the candles were lit - no health and safety then!

The children all took part in the processional Hop tu naa dance around the hall. I have seen this dance done quite recently and the kids love it.

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