[From Manx Soc vol 21]


Shenn Laa’l chebbal ooashley—the twelfth day, January 6th, being the twelfth in number from the Nativity, is celebrated as one of the most jovial for Christmas gambols and visiting of friends, before settling down to the more serious business of the year. Waldron, who wrote his description of Manx Customs early in the eighteenth century, says :—" On Twelfth Day the Fiddler lays his head in some one of the wenches’ iaps, and a third person asks who such a maid or such a maid shall marry, naming the girls then present one after another, to which he answers according to his own whim, or agreeable to the intimacies he has taken notice of during this time of merriment. But whatever he says is as absolutely depended on as an oracle; and if he happens to couple two people who have an aversion to each other, tears and vexation succeed the mirth. This they call cutting off the Fiddler’s head, for after this, he is dead for the whole year."—Waldron’s Isle of Man. Manx Society, vol. xi. 1864, p. 50.

When the gienys or dance takes place, the mainstyr, or master of the ceremonies, appoints every man his tegad or valentine for the ensuing year.

There used also to be a particular pastime introduced on this day called the Lackets, where a number of persons were invited, both male and female, who, after partaking of a supper, commenced dancing, during which the lavare vane was introduced, which created great consternation to some, and laughter in others. It consisted either in the real head of a horse, or one formed of wood, so prepared that the person who had charge of it, being concealed under a white sheet, was able to snap the mouth at any one who came in its way. These and many other pastimes used to amuse the natives

At such a time
As Christmas, when disguising is on foot,"

but are now rapidly falling into disuse.

Something of a similar custom as the last used to be observed in Cheshire, there called "Old lob."


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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