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The Cornish Traditional Year


The CORNISH TRADITIONAL Year by

Simon Reed Line illustrations by the Gemma Gary Photography by Jane Cox and Phil Green


The Traditional Cornish Year © 2009, 2012 by Simon Reed. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Llewellyn Publications, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. First North American Edition, 2020 First Printing, 2020 ISBN 978-0-7387-6583-9 Originally published by Troy Books Inc. 2012 ISBN 978-0-9561043-9-7 Llewellyn Publications is a registered trademark of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. Cataloging-in-Publication Programme data is on file with the British National Bibliography. Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. does not participate in, endorse, or have any authority or responsibility concerning private business transactions between our authors and the public. All mail addressed to the author is forwarded but the publisher cannot, unless specifically instructed by the author, give out an address or phone number. Any Internet references contained in this work are current at publication time, but the publisher cannot guarantee that a specific location will continue to be maintained. Please refer to the publisher’s website for links to authors’ websites and other sources. Llewellyn Publications A Division of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive Woodbury, MN 55125-2989 www.llewellyn.com Printed in the United States of America


Acknowledgements With grateful thanks to; Jane Cox, Christine Gary, Gemma Gary, Eddie Williams, Phil Green and Adrian Smith


Contents

Introduction

11

Golowan, Midsummer fires and the feasts of Peter and John

13

Lammas - Goel Est

29

Guldize - The Cornish Harvest Festival

35

Allantide - The Cornish festival of Magic and Apples

45

The Parish Feast

51

Nadelik - The Cornish Christmas

57

Tansys Golowan – The Cornish Midsummer Carol Late Survivals and Revivals The Old Cornwall Bonfire Ceremony

The Mock or Cornish Yule Log Guise, or Geese Dancing Christmas Food Padstow Mummers’ Days The Cornish Carol or “Curl” The Cornish Christmas Bush or Bunch Robin’s Alight The Candle Dance Montol Wassailing Childermas Lanterns

17 25 25

58 58 68 69 70 74 75 76 77 77 80 81


Tom Bawcock’s Eve – The Mousehole Feast New Year Twelfth Night

81 83 84

Candlemas, Nickanan Night, and Shrovetide

87

St Piran’s Day and other Miners’ Holidays

98

The Cornish May Traditions

105

Quarter Days, Minor Holidays and other Feast Days

124

Mock Mayors and Sham leaders

129

The Wobbly Wheel of the Cornish Year

136

Bibliography

138

Index

140

Padstow ‘Obby ‘Oss Polperro May Day Fowey The Furry Dance – Helston May Horns, Pee Weeps and other May Customs St Germans May Tree Fair

105 111 111 114 118 122


Line Illustrations and Photographs

Line Illustrations:

The Penzance Seal Chûn Quoit near Morvah The Guldize Neck Allantide Towednack Cuckoo Guise Mask Stargazey Pie Venton Ia St Piran Padstow ‘Obby ‘Oss The Bodmin Riding Festival Beast Penzance Mock Mayor

Photographs:

Between Pages 80 and 81 The Golowan Band (Jane Cox) An Old Cornwall Society Midsummer Bonfire, Madron (Jane Cox) The Penzance Guldize Neck (Jane Cox) ‘Crying the Neck’ by Adrian Smith A modern day example of the Allantide apple and candle game (Jane Cox) ‘Chalking the Mock’ (Jane Cox) The Mock ready for the Montol Fire (Phil Green) Old Ned’ by Eddie Williams A Montol Beast (Phil Green) A ‘Penglaz Oss’ at Montol (Jane Cox) Montol Street Musicians (Phil Green) An example of ‘Mock Formal’ attire (Phil Green) The sounding of Mayhorns in Penzance (Jane Cox) The Mayhorns seafront procession from Newlyn to Penzance (Jane Cox) The Padstow May Pole (Jane Cox) The ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ ‘Osses (Jane Cox) Eddie Williams at a Golowan Mock Mayoral Election (Jane Cox)

13 29 35 44 50 57 83 86 98 104 124 129


Introduction

W

hen I first became interested in my own culture, it was through the incredibly indirect route of seeing my wife’s Japanese heritage in full flow. It struck me after many visits to this far away land, that one of the strongest factors in any successful community, is the ability to celebrate common distinctive traditions together. When communities celebrate together, they become strong communities, and strong communities have a positive sense of citizenship. Despite what the outside world may say, Cornwall has a vibrant culture worth preserving, and just as our language represents a key factor in our cultural survival, so does our calendar. The feasts and festivals of the Cornish year mark us apart from great chunks of the British Isles and unite us in part with those who share our history. We ignore all these things at our peril. This book is a guide to all those who wish to break the drudgery of saccharine ladled celebrations that try to commercialise our everyday existence in Cornwall (and beyond). It is also for the Cornish people, who have been so badly treated by other cultures, and now seek to 11


The Cornish Traditional Year take back what belongs to them and practice it without interference or judgement. This book is written with the perfect knowledge that there is no absolute Cornish culture preserved in aspic that be can be held up as the best example of itself. All practices described in this book happen now, or are worth reviving now, absolutely every culture goes through cycles of decline and renewal. All traditions described in this book are distinctly Cornish and hopefully good fun. I have deliberately excluded the Methodist introductions of the 19th century, which often sought to supplant the native culture of our land with acceptable sober alternatives, often involving lashings of tea and mountains of cake. This of course is not through any malice towards Methodism. As my Chapel going parents will testify, I have partaken in my fair share of Sunday School treats and Chapel anniversaries, but through a desire to expose the underlying Cornish Celtic nature of our year. In this second edition I also want to highlight my extensive use of primary texts. I have included as much information as there is available, purely so that a reader can access in one place the many and varied sources. There are many good books on this subject, but they often have gaps in their coverage of the complete Cornish year.

12


Golowan, Midsummer fires and the feasts of Peter and John

A

s good a point as any to start our examination of the Cornish year is Golowan (in revived Cornish Goel Sen Jowan). Golowan is, by various definitions, both the feast of St. John and the feast of “light and rejoicing�, and marks the traditional midsummer some two days later than the astronomical summer solstice. 13


The Cornish Traditional Year The fires of midsummer did not start as a uniquely Cornish custom, and can be seen in many Indo-European traditions, especially in the Northern European nations. In Latvia, the very same feast is called Jani, in Finland Ukon juhla and in Ireland St. John’s Eve. In pre-Christian cultures, the fires seem to have been viewed with magical awe, and used as a power to mark the height of the sun’s prowess. A relationship with the Celtic deity Belenus is broadly hinted at by some Antiquarians, with many describing the Cornish midsummer fires as “Bel” fires. The church, in its manner, simply added the Saint to the Day, in very much the style that Christmas was added to the Midwinter celebrations of the pagan. However this early relationship was always a strained one, with St. Elegus of Flanders (who died around 659/60) stating: “No Christian on the feast of Saint John or the solemnity of any other saint performs solestitia [summer solstice rites] or dancing or leaping or diabolical chants.” In Britain, these celebrations formed part of the religious calendar for many centuries. A good description of contemporary John’s Eve celebrations is given in the 15th century by John Mirk: “At first, men and women came to church with candles and other lights and prayed all night long. In the process of time, however, men left such devotion and used songs and dances and fell into lechery and gluttony turning the good, holy devotion into sin.” In Cornwall, the fires of St. John became distinct and separate from the rest of mainland Britain sometime around the English Civil War, when the puritan masters of parliament outlawed the practice as heathen (as was 14


Golowan, Midsummer pretty much anything which, in their definition, did not conform to their so very narrow view of the world). Cornwall seems to have been sufficiently geographically remote from the centres of power in the Kingdom, that it was able to keep these customs without interference. The first detailed description of the Goluan [sic] celebrations can be found in the Antiquities of Cornwall of Dr William Borlase published in 1754: “In Cornwall, the festival Fires, called Bonfires, are kindled on the Eve of St. John the Baptist and St. Peter’s Day; and Midsummer is thence, in the Cornish tongue, called ‘Goluan,’ which signifies both light and rejoicing. At these Fires the Cornish attend with lighted torches, tarr’d and pitch’d at the end, and make their perambulations round their Fires, and go from village to village carrying their torches before them; and this is certainly the remains of the Druid superstition, for ‘faces praeferre,’ to carry lighted torches, was reckoned a kind of Gentilism, and as such particularly prohibited by the Gallick Councils: they were in the eye of the law ‘accensores facularum,’ and thought to sacrifice to the devil, and to deserve capital punishment.” By the 19th Century, the fiery carnival was becoming more and more confined to the West of the Duchy, especially the Lizard and Mount’s Bay. In Mount’s Bay, the fires were so numerous that the numbers viewed by local people in Penzance were used as a form of divination for future events, the more fires in view the greater the prosperity for the ensuing year. One of the most notable aspects about the Golowan celebrations, was the strongly held belief that the dancing through or around the fire was a protection from the evil intentions of others, in particular witchcraft, a belief in which was rife. The Cornish of course defined the actions 15


The Cornish Traditional Year of witchcraft as evil or bad magic, as opposed to the magic of the habitually used community “Pellars”, who seem to have been consulted at least once a year by the populace (usually at New Year). Attached to this general air of magic and divination were a string of superstitions practised often by young women who were keen to find true love of the identity of future spouses. Robert Hunt describes a few of the more popular of these: On midsummer-eve a young woman takes off the shift which she has been wearing, and, having washed it, turns it wrong side out, and hangs it in silence over the back of a chair, near the fire, she will see, about midnight, her future husband, who deliberately turns the garment. In some parts of Cornwall it was lucky to scatter some hemp seed, a poem again recorded by Robert Hunt explains: “At eve last midsummer no sleep I sought, But to the field a bag of hemp-seed brought; I scatter’d round the seed on every side, And three times in a trembling accent cried,— ‘This emp-seed with my virgin hand I sow, Who shall my true love be, the crop shall mow.’ I straight look’d back, and, if my eyes speak truth, With his keen scythe behind me came the youth.” Golowan was also one of the times of year when it was believed that witches would rededicate themselves to their master Satan, high on the moors of Penwith, in particular the Witches’ Rock at Trewa between Zennor and Nancledra. 16


Golowan, Midsummer The celebration itself was even exported by the Cornish miner, midsummer fires were regularly lit on June 24th at Moonta, Australia by Cornish immigrants, and there are other accounts of similar Midsummer fires being kindled in Canada and the United States by Cornish migrants. Intriguing references to Midsummer poles (Not unlike Maypoles) can be found in many 19th century descriptions, including a very large one at St Stephen’s down near Launceston, and multiple cases in the mining districts of Cornwall. The following account is taken from The History of Cornwall by Fortescue Hitchins and Samuel Drew: “One of the most remarkable of these is considering Midsummer Day as a high holiday, on which either a pole is erected, decorated with garlands, or some flag is displayed, to denote the sanctity of the time. This custom has prevailed from time immemorial, of which it is scarcely possible to trace the origin”. The Golowan Carols The great Cornish collector of music and folklore, William Sandys, who wrote under the pen name of “Uncle Jan Trenoodle”, collected from a local choir master the following song, which was popularly sung by the people of Cornwall in the 19th century. Tansys Golowan – The Cornish Midsummer Carol “The bonny month of June is crowned With the sweet scarlet rose; The groves and meadows all around With lovely pleasure flows. 17


The Cornish Traditional Year As I walked out to yonder green, One evening so fair, All where the fair maids may be seen Playing at the bonfire. Hail! lovely nymphs, be not too coy, But freely yield your charms; Let love inspire with mirth and joy, In Cupid’s lovely arms. Bright Luna spreads its light around, The gallants for to cheer, As they lay sporting on the ground, At the fair June bonfire. All on the pleasant dewy mead, They shared each other’s charms, Till Phlebus’ beams began to spread, And coming day alarms. Whilst larks and linnets sing so sweet, To cheer each lovely swain, Let each prove true unto their love, And so farewell the plain.” From the construction of the song it seems that these words were themselves written by a classically educated individual in the early 19th Century. Well know poet Valentine Le Grice is one suspect often quoted by Cornish scholars. Interestingly the tune associated with this song was “The Marigold” which sounds extremely similar to the Irish tune “Star of the County Down”. Some claim that this Cornish tune predates the later and in fact was the inspiration for the Irish favourite. 18


Golowan, Midsummer By the 1860’s, Penzance on “Bonfire Night” was a scene of spectacular colour, noise and flame. Starting from early morning, people made bonfire piles throughout the town, in particular the Quay and the Greenmarket areas. Young people would at dusk dress in their oldest clothes and began their vibrant revelries, dashing at each other with fire crackers and releasing rockets and squibs. A K Hamilton Jenkin writes in his book Cornwall and its People 1954: “On the Eve of St John’s in 1864 the managing committee of the festivities showed their appreciation of the fact that midsummer comes but once a year by letting off 258 dozen (3096) crackers in addition to the great quantities of Roman candles, Jack in the Box and Sky Rockets.” The fires were then lit, as were large tar barrels and curious smaller fire barrels held up by long lengths of wood. In the town centre, the populace would elect a leader for their night of fun, a mock or sham Mayor or the “Mayor of the Quay”, usually a disreputable character living in the harbour area, the last recorded historical Mayor of the Quay was a gentleman named “Robinson” who was apparently an expert on fishing lore. The election it seems was by drunken popular assembly, the victor being showered in firework sparks by the attending revellers. At intervals during the night, a band would play popular tunes and entertain all classes of individuals that thronged to the town to experience the fun. By the middle of the evening, gangs of people would perambulate the streets, waving in a large circular motion, giant pitch torches made from wood and sail cloth, the sight must have been awe inspiring. 19


The Cornish Traditional Year William Colenso (coincidentally my 4 times great Uncle) gives us a colourful picture, he writes in 1831: “In no part of Cornwall, is Midsummer celebrated with more hilarity than at Penzance and its neighbourhood) for on the 23rd of June, the young people are all alert in the preparations for their favourite festival. No sooner does the tardy sun withdraw himself from the horizon, than the boys begin to assemble in several parts of the town, drawing after them trees, branches of wood and furze; all which had been accumulating week after week, from the beginning of May. Tar-barrels are presently erected on tall poles, in the marketplace, on the quay, and in all of the principal streets; while pretty female children trip up and down in their best frocks, decorated with garlands, and hailing Midsummer-eve as the vigil of St John. The joyful moment arrives ! the torches make their appearance! the heaped-up wood is on fire! the tar-barrels send up their intense flame! the ladies, and gentlemen parade the streets, walk in the fields or on the terraces which command the bay; from thence they behold the fishing towns, farms, and “villas, vieing with each other in the number and splendour of their bonfires: the torches quickly moving along the shore, are reflected from the water; and the spectacle though of the cheerful kind, participates of the grand. In the mean time, rockets (of all descriptions,) crackers, squibs, &c., &c, • resound through every street; and the screams of the ladies, on their return from the show, and then precipitate flight into the first shop, passage or house, that happens to be open, heighten the colouring and diversion of the night. Then comes the finale: no sooner are the torches burnt out, than the inhabitants of the quay quarter, (a great multitude,) male and female, young, middle-aged, and old, virtuous and vicious, sober and drunk, take hands, and forming a long line, run violently through every street, lane, and alley, crying ‘an eye, an eye, an eye!’ at last they stop suddenly and an eye to this enormous needle “being opened, by the last two in the string, (whose clasped hands are elevated and arched) the thread of populace run under 20


Golowan, Midsummer and through; and continue to repeat the same, till weariness dissolves the union, and sends them home to bed, which is never till past the hour of midnight. Next day, (Midsummer day) the custom is, for the country people to come to Penzance in their best clothes, about four or five o’clock in the afternoon, when they repair to the quay, and take a short trip on the water: on which occasion a number of boats are employed, most of which have music on board: after one cargo is dismissed another is taken in, and till nine or ten o’clock at night, the bay exhibits a pleasant scene of sloops, sailing-boats, rowing-boats, sea-sickness, laughter, quarrelling, drum-beating, horn-blowing, &c, &c. On the quay there is a kind of wake or fair, in which fruit and confectionary are sold, and the public-houses are thronged with drinkers and dancers. Such is Midsummer in this part of Cornwall; and on the eve of the feast of St. Peter, which follows so closely upon it, the same things are acted over again.” The celebration seems to have been a constant source of angst to the Penzance Town Corporation who tried many times to ban, or civilise the proceedings, perhaps with good reason. In his autobiography, Edwin Dunkin recalls an incident from 1836 in Marazion. “..what appeared to me the most objectionable feature of this Midsummer fete was the promiscuous manner of letting off all kinds of fire-works in the public streets. Many of the houses in the central part of Marazion in 1836 were still thatched with straw.....on the evening before St Johns Day 1836 a scene of great excitement occurred owing to a lighted squib having been thrown accidentally on the thatched roof of a house adjoining that in which I was residing”. A notice was in fact annually posted in Penzance by the town crier, banning outright the celebrations, which was always completely ignored by the people of the town. 21


The Cornish Traditional Year Henry Boase, Mayor of Penzance in 1816, seems to have been particularly disturbed by the proceedings and describes in his diary of his Mayoral year the nuisance caused by the “Bonfire Folk”. On the 29th of June 1816 he writes: “Complaints of depredation committed last night by the bonfire folk” In the same year, a case was even brought against the offending revellers by a local woman whose sheets had been scorched by the exuberant display of pyrotechnics. After his term of office, Henry Boase went even further, writing a pamphlet entitled “Stop the Midsummer bonfires”. This battle of wits, between the people and council, was satirised by Valentine Le Grice in his pamphlet “Ye battle of ye bonfires”, no doubt written in response to the pamphlet written by the former Mayor. By 11pm, the fires began to die down and the lads and lasses of the quay area would begin to perform the serpent dance. The description and practice of this half game, half dance is well recorded. Joining hands, locals would form a long chain of people rushing, skipping and hoping through the streets, avoiding the embers of the fire by dexterity or chance. At little notice, a link in the chain would raise their arms at the direction of the head of the chain and rush through the link crying “An Eye! An Eye”. This dance was sometimes known as “thread the needle” for obvious reasons. The dance itself was quite different to the civilised proceedings seen at Cornish modern Troyls and would have been fast furious and cut with an atmosphere of danger and roughness. 22


Golowan, Midsummer The following is an extract from the transcripts of the Penzance Antiquarian and Natural History Society, written by Richard Edmondes and published in 1851: “It is the immemorial usage in Penzance and the neighbouring towns and villages, on Midsummer-eve, to kindle bonfires and torches, and on Midsummer-day to hold a fair on the quay, where the country folks assemble in great numbers to make excursions on the water. St. Peter’s-eve (the fifth from that of Midsummer) is distinguished by a similar display of bonfires and torches, although the “ Quayfair “ on St. Peter’s-day has been for some years discontinued. This festival in former times lasted probably about a week — the interval from Midsummer-eve to St. Peter’s-day. On these eves, a line of tarbarrels, relieved occasionally by large bonfires, is seen in the centre of each of the principal streets. On either side of this line men and women pass up and down, swinging round their heads heavy torches made of large pieces of folded canvass steeped in tar, and nailed to the ends of sticks three or four feet long: the flames of some of these almost equal those of the tar-barrels. Rows of lighted candles, also, when the air is calm, are fixed outside the windows or along the sides of the streets, while rockets, and fireworks of all descriptions, are let off in various parts of the town. Viewed from the bay, the shores present an animating appearance, there being scarcely a village along the coast without its bonfire or torches. At the close of the amusements, when the fires are almost spent, a great number of men and women, chiefly from the neighbourhood of the Quay, used always, until last year (1845), to join hand in hand, forming a long string, and run through the streets, playing “ thread the needle,” heedless of the fireworks showered upon them, and oftentimes leaping over the yet glowing embers. For a few hours previous to the fire exhibition, children may be seen in the streets wearing wreaths and garlands of flowers — a custom in all probability originating from the ancient use of these ornaments when they danced round the fires”. 23


The Cornish Traditional Year The following day, a busy fair took place in the Quay area of Penzance, where thousands of people from all over the Penwith area congregated. In early times, the celebrations included the taking of “a Pennorth of Sea”, or a ride in a small boat, and the consumption of great quantities of local strawberries (served in cabbage leaves), fairings and alcohol. The fair itself was full of the usual trade stalls and entertainment booths, featuring music, wrestlers and boxing. The local children of the town would dress with garlands of the Midsummer flowers, in particular St John’s Wart, which would also be fixed to the doors of houses in the quay area, as would roses and other seasonal herbs. The events were again repeated on the 27th of June “St Peters Eve” in many towns and were strongly celebrated in fishing communities, St Peter being one of the patron saints of the fishing industry. Mevagissey feast, Porthleven Petertide, and the election of a Mock Mayor at Polperro festival, all seem to hark back to this ancient devotion to the patron saint of fisher folk, and have strong links to the Golowan high holidays of old. St Peter’s was taken so seriously by the folk of Newlyn, that in one very busy fishing season the whole affair was postponed until the fleet had returned to port some 7 days later. By the 1870’s, Penzance Town Council’s patience had worn thin as a result of continual pressure from the great and good of the town (using the excuse of increased fire insurance premiums), and so the festival petered out, and by the 1890’s it was a shadow of its former self, confined to one or two small areas of the town. By the 1900’s it seemed to have disappeared into history, along with the associated Quay fair. There are a number of late photographs showing the Midsummer Quay fair 24


Golowan, Midsummer in the last days of its existence not to mention a excellent painting that pre-dates these photographs, which is on display in the Penlee House and Gallery and Museum in Penzance. Late Survivals and Revivals Outside Penzance and Newlyn, Golowan fires were occasionally lit. There is, for example, a curious example of a Carn Brea fire in the early 1920’s referenced in the West Briton of the time. Surprising as it would have seemed to contemporary observers of the age, this was not the end of Golowan or its sacred fires. By 1929, the Cornish Celtic revival was in its first embryonic stages, with the founding in St Ives, by R Morton-Nance, of the St Ives Old Cornwall Society. One of the earliest intentions of the Old Cornwall Societies was to celebrate the key moments of the Cornish year, and warmly embraced the Golowan fires as symbols of Cornish national identity. In 1929, the Old Cornwall Societies began conducting bonfire ceremonies, which took inspiration from the descriptions of noted 19th C Antiquarians, such as Margaret Anne Courtney and “Christianised” the proceedings with formalised words in English and revived Cornish. It is interesting to note that many of the pioneers of the Cornish revival were “High Anglicans” who often viewed the Catholic Cornwall of Glasney College and the mystery plays as an ideal to be celebrated and restored. The Old Cornwall Bonfire Ceremony GERYOW AN SOLEMPNYTA ORDENARY: 25


The Cornish Traditional Year Herwyth usadow agan hendasow yn termynyow kens, Awotta ny ow cul agan Tansys Golowan, haneth yn cres an Haf. Tan y’n cunys Lemmyn gor uskys, May tewo an Tansys Yn Hanow Dew! ARLODHES AN BLEJYOW: Otta kelmys yn-kemyskys Blejyow, may fons-y cowl leskys, Ha’n da, ha’n drok. Re dartho an da myl egyn, Glan re bo dyswres pup dregyn, Yn tan, yn mok! ORDENARY: Towl lemmyn an blejyow! The Words in their English Translation According to the custom of our forefathers in days of old, Behold us making our Midsummer Bonfire, this night in the middle of Summer Now set the pyre At once on fire, Let flame aspire In God’s high Name! LADY OF THE FLOWERS: In one bunch together bound Flowers for burning here are found Both good and ill. 26


Golowan, Midsummer Thousandfold let good seed spring Wicked weeds, fast withering, Let this fire kill! MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Now Cast the flowers! What the original revellers of the 19th century and before would have thought of this ceremony is hard to gauge. By the 1980’s, the bonfires of the Old Cornwall Society had become a well established part of the calendar of Cornish life, often forming a chain of beacons between Land’s End and Kit Hill on the Devon border. However, the revival of interest in all things midsummer was about to take a giant leap forward in the home of its last great historic displays, Penzance. By 1990, discussions began to take place about the creation of a community event, not unlike the Trevithick celebrations held in Camborne. At first this festival had the provisional name of “Poldark Day”, as discussions continued, it became clear to the potential organisers that Penzance in fact had a very valid day of its own. Led by Cornish researcher, historian and artist Steven Hall, and an army of volunteers, the first revived Golowan festival took to the streets of Penzance in June 1991. Mazey Day, the festival’s core event, is a glorious and colourful outpouring of community creativity, and nearly all the elements of the ancient feast have been incorporated into the revived event, with the Serpent dance, Mayor of the Quay, fire and fireworks all taking their deserved place once more. Interestingly, the Penzance ‘Obby ‘Oss Penglaz has also made an appearance within the festival. No record exists mentioning the ‘Oss at a Midsummer event, however a similar tradition does exist in Ireland 27


The Cornish Traditional Year with a pole and skull horse effigy jumping in and out of the St John’s fires. It is a fair bet that, with the iconic status of such ‘Osses, that the original would have joined the revellers at some point. For more information about the Penglaz tradition, see Chapter five. In 2007, the charity that operated the Golowan festival failed, and such was the outpouring of public concern that Penzance Town Council took over its management, a relationship that exists to this day.

28


Body, Mind & Spirit / Witchcraft Traditions

The

CORNISH

TRADITIONAL Year

New Revised and Expanded Edition Just as the language of Cornwall is crucial to the continued survival of the Cornish people, so it is equally crucial to practice and understand our distinctive Cornish calendar. This book presents to all the people of Cornwall the full exposition of the yearly cycle that forms such an important part of our culture. Celebrating together leads to strong communities and positive sense of identity, by adopting, reviving or preserving this heritage we take giant steps towards ensuring the future of the Cornish culture into the 21st Century and beyond.

$15.99 US ISBN 978-0-7387-6583-9 51599

9

780738 765839

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The Cornish Traditional Year, by Simon Reed  

Discover and celebrate the distinctive Cornish calendar with this book's fascinating presentation of the yearly cycle. Honoring Cornish cu...

The Cornish Traditional Year, by Simon Reed  

Discover and celebrate the distinctive Cornish calendar with this book's fascinating presentation of the yearly cycle. Honoring Cornish cu...

Profile for llewellyn