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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,787
    Wow, pitter patter, what an amazing lot of photos there. So beautiful. And thanks for the English explanation. The last couple of “pages” really show how widespread the same ideas (even similar costumes) were in the past. Romania has been lucky to keep so many of them alive and well. Long may it continue.

    There are a couple of places near here that still have Boxing Day dances involving men in odd uniforms dancing with “swords” (actually just long bits of mild steel). The culmination of the dance is to form a star shape with the swords. But I suppose what looks like a star may in fact have originally been a sun. Who knows? Here is one of the two remaining sword dancing groups.

    The inset photos of the animal with horns is the Derby tup. ( tup is a ram in local dialect). A poem was written about the Derby tup a long long time ago. He bears a remarkable resemblance to your tree/deer.  Here is the story of the Derby tup.

    Or for those who cannot understand a Sheffield accent 😁

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,787

    Another carol reflecting the importance of the sunrise, the evergreen and undying nature of the holly and the ivy, the berries of fruitfulness, and the running, healthy deer and a crown (perhaps another reference to the sun?)

    This time sung to a tune that is popular in Sheffield. I learned this tune before I ever heard the “normal” one.  Sung here in the grandly named Royal Hotel (just a pub 😊) and with its perennial “extras”, such as the “woof woof” after the mention of the bark and the altered verse to describe the holly’s root being “as dark as the Royal’s beer”.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,787
    Sometimes a carol is so rare and limited to perhaps just one village that it is called, by outsiders, by the name of that village.

    When Ralph Vaughan Williams toured the country in the early years of the 20th century, he found himself in the isolated village of Castleton in Derbyshire. Even today, Castleton is a strangely cut off place, in the middle of moors and hills. Home to the Blue John mine and the Peak Cavern (known locally as the Devil’s Arse).  Not a place to get to by accident. And not a place to linger in when it’s cold and dark and wintry.

    Vaughan Willams interviewed the locals and discovered a song which is still sung in the George pub in December.  He named it the Castleton Carol. I can’t find a recording of it being sung by a group in a pub.

    It’s a weird, spine-tingling song, made all the weirder by being sung on this recording by the unmistakeable Alfred Deller.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,505
    Fabulous recording, thanks @pansyface.   :)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,934
    edited November 2020
    What an interesting thread @pansyface !

    The carol singing always sounded such fun when you mentioned it in previous years that we were hoping to come to the Peak District area this year for a couple of nights - specifically to attend one or two sessions. Obviously that's not going to happen now😢. Maybe next year.

    I can't think of local Christmas / winter traditions but we do (did?) have one associated with St Valentine's Day. On the evening of the 14th February children in Norfolk were encouraged to answer a knock at the door. Nobody there when they opened it but there was a little treat (bar of chocolate or other sweeties) left on the doorstep by Jack Valentine.

    It wasn't until I moved away that I realised nobody outside Norfolk seemed to follow this tradition yet it was something enjoyed by every family I knew and there would be several knocks on the door throughout the evening from participating families. Bit like trick or treating in reverse!
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,787
    Oh, I wish I’d grown up in Norfolk.😋

    Yes, they are trying to get us to keep the carol sings going on Zoom but (a) I haven’t a clue about Zoom and (b) I can sing them any time of day or night if I’m going to be singing them on my own.

    Plus, Zoom seems to be a case of looking at people’s faces whereas carol sings in pubs involve looking only at the back of other people’s heads. There are some people I only recognise from the back. 😊

    Yes, Topbird, next year with a bit of luck. Providing the pubs are still in business. 😕
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 1,109
    edited November 2020
    Lovely carol with Alfred Deller. It was only yesterday that I was listening to him singing Wraggle Taggle Gypsies. Thank you.
    🐾 East Midlands 🐾
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,787
    edited November 2020
    Have you ever noticed, when you go for a walk in an unfamiliar place, that if you want to find a pub to have a stop for lunch you look for the nearest church steeple or tower? Chances are that there will be a pub directly over the road from the church.  At least it’s true in Derbyshire.

    It has always puzzled me why. But there’s a nice metaphor in their juxtaposition for how the carolling tradition came to survive here. When, in the 1830s, the Oxford Movement was getting its knickers in a twist about whether Anglicans were or were not Catholic-lite, its academically minded members decided that there had to be an overhaul of the hymns that could be decently sung in church. Out went any enthusiastically shouted choruses, out went any twiddly bits of music, out went anything “common” such as dialect words and out went anything authored by a humble, working class, untrained musician. 

    They selected a measly 273 hymns, selected by themselves as fit to be sung in church. They bound them together into the book known as Hymns Ancient and Modern, the book that is still to be found in Anglican churches today, give or take the odd hymn.

    Anything else was not permitted to be sung in church from now on.

    In addition, they said that the music should not be produced by a rag tag group of locals with their various ancient clarinets, cellos, fiddles, recorders etc. And most importantly, these people should not perform their music from a west gallery, facing the altar, and heaven forfend, higher up and looking down on the educated incumbent priest. So west galleries were largely torn down and village musicians’ instruments were replaced by organs. A few west galleries still survive. Like this one.

    So the average church goer of the 1830s now found himself deprived of the chance to play music every week, deprived of his ability to sing the songs that his family had sung for generations, and forced to sing with a received pronunciation and forgo any of the enjoyable fol-de-rols in the tunes.

    Not exactly a way to win hearts and minds.

    So the locals did the only thing they could. They literally turned their backs on the church, walked over the road to the pub and sang their old favourites there, away from the disapproving gaze of officialdom. 

    The Sheffield carols often begin with quite a long musical introduction. This is produced by whatever instrument is available. Sometimes it can be a brass band, which certainly drowns out normal conversation in the pub. Some pubs don’t have musicians and then the singers hum the introduction, so that everyone knows which carol is about to be sung.  With a bit of poetic justice and just a slightly raised two fingers to the church which banned them, these introductions are called “symphonies”.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • There are two main winter traditions in Brazil. The first is Corpus Christi, which is like a kind of mini-carnival. The other is the "Festa Juninha". Don't forget June is winter S of the Equator. It is basically a street party where you all bring some food and/or drink. Everyone turns out.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,787
    edited November 2020
    It’s a little late in the evening for my tired old brain to take in the idea of June being in winter. 😊

    But I see from a quick peek at Wiki that the tradition of Festa Juninha came over from Portugal, where it began as a summertime Christian festival based around the feast of St Anthony on 13 June.

    Having arrived on the wintry (!) shores of Brazil, it seems to have settled down there into more of an agrarian celebration where farmers get dressed up, have a jolly time, and hope for a good year ahead.

    It’s an interesting reversal of the European winter festivals that began as pagan nature worship and got gobbled up and over-written by the church.😁
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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