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Happy Hop tu Naa!

Does that sound right? Hmm possibly not, but being a Manx girl I’m more of a fan of the Manx tradition than all of this commercialised Halloween palaver. Having said that, and having had children, I do admit that I have succumbed in the past to pumpkins rather than moots (turnips for anyone reading this not familiar with the term) simply for their ease of carving. For anyone who’s tried to carve out a turnip without a drill I’m sure you will understand. There have been some great posts about Hop tu Naa over the past week and all sorts of events Island-wide. Culture Vannin’s Facebook page has been great for this so I do recommend you take a look there for some great links to Manx superstitions, turnip carving, stories and poems etc.  This week I’ve collected together some fab pictures from our local Artists in celebration of this much-loved annual tradition.

Rebecca Odessa sent me her thoughts that go with this lovely collage which I think is a good reflection of the true roots of this festival:

“Hop tu Naa is the Manx variant of the Celtic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Regarded as a corridor between the two worlds – light and dark, life and death – Hop tu Naa drew on the twin forces that govern all human existence: the fear of death and the hope of survival. If the harvest was bountiful, survival of the winter was assured – though never certain; if, on the other hand, the harvest was lacking, the fear around this time – as to who would live and who would die – must have been palpable. Either way, it was a time for honouring the dead by bringing them gifts; of contemplating one’s mortality, and preparing oneself psychologically for the difficult months ahead – when one’s life, quite literally, hung in the balance.”

The traditional Hop tu Naa witch that we sang about when I was growing up was ‘Jinny the Witch’. I only know the modern song (below) but there are different variations.

My mother’s gone away
And she won’t be back until the morning
Jinnie the Witch flew over the house
To fetch the stick to lather the mouse
My mother’s gone away
And she won’t be back until the morning
Hop-tu-Naa, Traa-la-laa

I remember my mum covering my face in green shiny eye make up one time for a party – the stereotypical look for witches in the 1970’s – so Jinny never looked anything like Adam Berry’s version to my mind, although his depiction is probably more accurate than my green and warty belief!

Similarly, John Caley’s picture of Jinny is not the black pointy hat version either. Here he is painting his watercolour picture of Jinny, filmed for Manx National Heritage.

Of course, the Queen of all things ghosty and ghoulie and long-legged beastie on the Island has to be Julia Ashby Smyth. Julia’s knowledge of folklore and faery tales is almost as legendary as the legends! How about this for a glorious collection of Halloween worthy creatures?

It’s great that our stories and traditions are being picked up and recountered by people who have come to live here. Kasia Mirska said she had been trying to find out some details regarding the White Lady before she started work on her picture but the only information she could find was that she was accused of murdering her child so she was executed. The ghost is reputedly seen with her hands covered in blood.

Juan Moore usually paints a new picture each year for Halloween so just to round things off, here are three of his pics with the controversial pumpkin! There is a moot in the third picture though so I think we can let him off  🙂

If this isn’t enough spooky for you for today then check out Tanya Anderson’s post from last year “13 Spooky & Haunted places on the Isle of Man”. I’m not sure I would concur with all of them (Polar Bears and Summerland for example) and I’m sure there are other places that aren’t on her list that should be but I didn’t know about the vampire grave so it’s still worth a read. For a bit of fun, if you know of anywhere else haunted on the Island let me know in the comments below!

minilogoMyths and Morphons – The Isle Gallery – Sunday 6 November. The Isle Gallery at  Tynwald Mills will be host to another unique and inspiring exhibition of art works produced by 4 leading contemporary artists. Simon Park, Anna Clucas, Julie Roberts and Colette Gambell will fill the exhibition area with a selection of artworks only to be portrayed from the imagination of the individuals. Artists and the gallery team warmly ask you to join them at 2pm on Sunday 6th November for the opening to celebrate with them an afternoon treat of visual art.

minilogoDates for your  Diary:

On now – Autumnal Show – Sheena Graham-George at Studio 42

On now to 5 November – Elemental at the Hodgson Loom Gallery

On now through to 19 November – Manx Museum – ‘Islands and Bridges’ The Art of Roger Dean

On now to 2 November – Sally Black at Noa Bakehouse

On now to 20 November – Colleen Corlett “Answering the Need to Create” at the Sayle Gallery

On now through November – IOM Arts Council Loan Collection at the Erin Arts Centre

2 November – Hand Printed Christmas Card and Gift Tag Workshop 10am – 3pm

3 November – The Alchemists Photography Exhibition Preview 7pm at Noa Bakehouse

6 November – 2pm – Opening of the new show at The Isle Gallery : Myths and Morphons

10, 17 & 24 November 2016 at The Isle Gallery – Hand Printed Fabric & Surface Pattern Design – 7pm – 9.30pm

12 & 19 November at The Sayle Gallery – Ceramic Giftware Workshops – Adult and Family sessions

minilogoHere’s this week’s round-up of ghastly pictures sourced from Social Media. Enjoy!

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Isle of Man Art News – 31 October 2016