"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Monday, January 01, 2018

January 1, 2018

Δόξα έν ΰψίστις θεώ κάι έπί γηςείρήνη έν άνθρώποις εΰδοκίας--Luke 2:14 (because we're still in the 12 Days of Christmas!)

Hogmanay of the sack

Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Strike the hide,
Strike the hide.

Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Beat the skin,
Beat the skin.

Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Down with it! up with it!
Strike the hide.

Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Down with it! up with it!
Beat the skin.

Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack.

Hogmanay Carol

I am now come to your country,
To renew to you the Hogmanay,
I need not tell you of it,
It was in the time of our forefathers.

I ascend by the door lintel,
I descend by the doorstep,
I will sing my song becomingly,
Mannerly, slowly, mindfully.

The Hogmanay skin is in my pocket,
Great will be the smoke from it presently.
The house-man will get it in his hand,
He will place its nose in the fire;
He will go sunwards round the babes,
And for seven verities round the housewife.

The housewife it is she who deserves it,
The hand to dispense to us the Hogmanay,
A small gift of the bloom of summer,
Much I wish it with the bread.

Give it to us if it be possible,
If you may not, do not detain us;
I am the servant of God's Son at the door,
Arise thyself and open to me.

The song of Hogmanay

Now since we came to the country
To renew to you the Hogmanay,
Time will not allow us to explain,
It has been since the age of our fathers.

Ascending the wall of the house,
Descending at the door,
My carol to say modestly,
As becomes me at the Hogmanay.

The Hogmanay skin is in my pocket,
Great the fume that will come from that;
No one who shall inhale its odour,
But shall be for ever from it healthy.

The house-man will get it in his grasp,
He will put its point in the fIre;
He will go sunwise round the children,
And very specially round the goodwife.

The wife will get it, she it is who deserves it,
The hand to distribute the Hogmanay,
The hand to bestow upon us cheese and butter,
The hand without niggardliness, without meanness.

Since drought has come upon the land,
And that we do not expect rarity,
A little of the substance of the summer,
Would we desire with the bread.

If that we are not to have it,
If thou mayest, do not detain us;
I am the servant of God's Son on Hogmanay,
Arise thyself and open the door.
Hogmanay here! Hogmanay here!

We are come to the door,
To see if we be the better of our visit,
To tell the generous women of the townland
That tomorrow is Calendae Day.

After being entertained the guisers go sunwise round the fire singing:

May God bless the dwelling,
Each stone, and beam, and stave,
All food, and drink, and clothing.
May health of men be always there.

Should the guisers be inhospitably treated, they file round the fire withershins walk out, and raise a cairn in or near the door, called carnan mollachd (cairn I malison), carnan cronachd (scathe, or evil, cairn).
They tramp loudly, shaking the dust of the place off their feet, and intoning' a deep voice the following and other maledictions:
The malison of God and of Hogmanay be on you,
And the scathe of the plaintive buzzard,
Of the hen-harrier, of the raven, of the eagle,
And the scathe of the sneaking fox.
The scathe of the dog and of the cat be on you,
Of the boar, of the badger, and of the brugha,
Of the hipped bear and of the wild wolf,
And the scathe of the foul foumart.

(All selections from Carmina Gadelica, ed. Alexander Carmichael)


Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

It was below 10F here at the highest yesterday, the idea of going out just dressed in paint would put me off of it.

Christianization saved the Irish. From freezing to death, if nothing else.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

These are the Scots. Further north, and colder.

I don't think Carmichael would recognize any ceremony involving naked women in winter, though. I suspect that's a crazy modern twist, along with the axe and winged helmet. Nothing terribly Scottish about any of it, but this is what we do to traditions we forget and then try to recover.

Oh, well.....

11:02 AM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

Boy, the Scots I've known have made even an uptight Irish New Englander like me seem lax. I had to tutor one once, he'd been given an assignment to write some lyrics for a Christmas song. Once we managed to smooth out the lines the results would have been grim enough for John Knox. Nice guy, though dead earnest.

8:01 PM  

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