[From Mona Miscellany second series Manx Soc vol 21]


The following remarkable days of the Calendar, as expressed in the Manx dialect, are worthy of preservation in a record of the fast-fading customs of the country.

January 1.—La Nullick beg. The little Christmas. "The Quaaltagh"is an important personage on this day, for which see an account in Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 135.

January 6.—Laa’l Chybbyr-ushtey. The Epiphany or twelfth day. The day of offering worship. Cregeen says it ought to be Laa’l chebbal ooashley.

January 25.—Laa’l-noo Phaul. The conversion of St. Paul, which took place at Damascus A.D. 37, observed both by the English and Catholic church. Vide Proverbs, p. 19.

February 1.—Laa’l Breeshey. The feast of St. Bridget. For the customs on this day see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 137; also Proverbs, p. 19.

February 2.—Laa’l Moirrey ny gianle. Candlemas-day. The day of man being tied or secured. See Proverbs, p. 19.

February 25.—Laa’l-noo-Mian. St. Matthew’s day.

March 17.—Laa’l Parick. St. Patrick’s day. The apostle of Ireland, and the first to found a church in the Isle of Man, on the small island off Peel, formerly called "St. Patrick’s Isle." See Proverbs, p. 20.

March 25.—Laa’l Moirrey ny Sansh. The Annunciation. Commemorative of the Incarnation of Christ.

April 25.—Laa-noo Mark-yn Sushtallagh. St. Mark the Evangelist’s day. There were many country superstitious observances anciently attached to the Eve of St. Mark.

May 1.—Laa Baaltain. The day of Baal’s fire. On the eve of this day fires are kindled in all parts, so that the wind may drive the smoke over the corn-fields, cattle, and houses, in order to purify them. It is also the usage to put out the culinary fires on that day, and to rekindle them with some of the sacred fire. For an account of various customs observed on this day, and on old May Eve, see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 138-142.

May 12.—La Baljey. The general day for letting of houses, paying half-year’s rents, taking in grazing cattle, and women servants taking their places for the year, after hiring on the 28th March.

May 18.—Laa’l Spitlhin souree. The Feast of St. Spitlhin of Summer. A saint not now known. He is also recorded on the 18th November.

June 9.—Feaill Collum Cilley. St. Columba. Apostle of the Picts. Died A.D 597.

June 11.—Laa-noo Barnabas. St. Barnabas.

June 24.—Trinaig veg. Little Trinity. On this day the annual Tynwald was formerly held at St. John’s.

June 29.—Laa’l Pheddyr. St. Peter’s day.

July 5.—Laa’ll Eoin. St. John the Baptist’s festival is kept on this day, and the annual Tynwald at St. John’s, at which the laws made during the year are promulgated on the Tynwald Hill in English and Manx. It is also called "Feailoin," on which day a circle or chaplet of the plant bollan (mugwort) used to be worn. It was called "Baal’s chaplet," in commemoratiou of Baal, or the Sun, the God of the Celts, having completed his circle or course. These customs are from immemorial usage, and are the remains of the heathen worship paid by the Druids and the Celtic nations to their God Baal. For an account of this day see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 143.

July 12.—Laa’l Charmane. St. German, first bishop of Man, A.D. 447.

July 22.—Laa’l Moirrey Malane. St. Mary Magdalen.

July 25.—Laa-noo Yamys. St. James the Great.

July 31.—Feoffi Machold toshee. St. Maughold’s chief feast.

August 1.—Laa’ Luanistyn. Lammas Day. It is otherwise called the Gule or Yule of August, signifying a festival or holyday, and was one of the great festivals of the Druids. The peasantry resort to the highest mountains and to wells on the first Sunday in August. This custom is said to be handed down from the Israelites, whose daughters went to the mountains yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah, the Oheadite, as recorded in the 11th chapter of Judges. See Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 145.

August 15.—Laa’l Moirrey thoshee. St. Mary’s principal feast.

August 24.—Laa-noo Pharlane. St. Bartholomew. See Proverbs, p. 9.

September 29.—Laa’ll Vaayl. St. Michael.

October 18.—Laa-noo Luke. St. Luke’s day.

October 28.—Feoill Simon. St. Simon’s feast.

October 29.—Laa’l Ma’el beg. St. Michael the Less.

November 1..—Laa Sauin. All Saints. Hallowmas. It is also called Laa’ll Mooar ny Saintsh. It was a great thanksgiving or day of rest amongst the Druids, on which day they consecrated the holy fires to distribute a light to the people. On the eve of this day it is customary for young people to pry into futurity in various ways. See Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 147.

November 2.—La feoill ny Marroo. The feast of All Souls, or those dead.

November 9.—Laa’l Kickle or Kial.

November 11.—Laa’ll Noo Vartin. Martinmas day.

November 12.—Laa’l Souney. The season or month was called "Yn Tauyn," because anciently it was the first day of the year. The general day for letting lands, payment of rents, men-servants taking their places for the year, and commencement of winter half-year.

November 18..—Laa’l Spitlhin geuraih. St. Spitlhin of the winter quarter.

November 25.—Laa’l Catharina. St. Catharine’s day.

November 26.—Laa’l Machold geuraih. St. Maughold’s winter feast.

November 30.—Laa’ll Andreays. St. Andrew’s day.

December 6.—La Catreeney. St. Catharine’s day (old style). On or before this day possession must be taken on the south side of the Island of lands when intended to change occupier.

December 21.—Laa’l Thomase. St. Thomas’s day. "Oiel Fingan," when the people went to the mountains and cliffs to catch deer and sheep for Christmas, and kindled large fires on the tops. See the Proverb in Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 27.

December 25.—Laa-yn Ollick. Christmas day. The eve of this day is called "Oiel Verree," the Eve of Mary, when carols are sung in the parish churches. For an account of this custom see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 157-165, and the various carols in this volume.

December 26.—Laa’l Steavin. St. Stephen’s day. It is the custom to "Hunt the Wren" on this day, and parade it about with flags, etc. In Waldron’s time (1726) it was observed on the 24th December. For an account of this custom, with the song, see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 151-156, and also p. 184-187.

December 27.—Laa’ll Eoin ‘syn Ollick. St. John the Evangelist’s day.

December 28.—Laa’ll ny Maccain. Innocent’s day.

Laa-yn-giense.—Twelfth-day. For the customs on this day, see p. 181.

Oiel Ynnyd.—Shrove Tuesday. The eve of the fast. For the customs on this day and proverb, see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 27.

Laa I’nnyd.—Ash Wednesday. A fast, the first day of Lent.

Je-heiney Chaisht.—Good Friday. The repugnance of making use of iron in any way on this day, it may be remarked that in the north of Durham no blacksmith throughout that district will drive a nail—a remembrance of the awful purpose for which hammer a.nd nails were used on the first Good Friday doubtless held them back. For the customs observed on this day see Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 137.

Laa Chaisht.—Easter. The universal Christian festival, in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection.

Doonaght Kingeeish. Whitsunday.


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001