With Christmas getting ever closer, we’ve taken a look at some of the traditional events that Culture Vannin is advertising this year.
For more info on these and other Manx traditions, see Culture Vannin’s website.
The White Boys
An unusual name, but this play is one of the most unusual parts of Manx tradition. This Manx ‘mumming’ play is not performed to any stable script, but it always includes a few key elements: saints, a fight, a death, a resurrection thanks to ‘the Doctor’ and a happy ending. This play has been seen on the streets of Manx towns and villages all over the island during the Christmas period in the 19th Century and beyond.
The play includes a special White Boys’ Carol, and it concludes with a sword-dance which finishing with the distinctive holding aloft of the swords interlocked into a hexagon.
The locations and times for the White Boys in 2021:
Saturday 18 December
10am Port St. Mary, by the Coop (Southern White Boys)
10.30 Port Erin, by the Railway Station (Southern White Boys)
11am Ramsey, outside the Courthouse (Peel White Boys)
11.15am Colby, by the Spar (Southern White Boys)
11.45am Castletown Square (Southern White Boys)
12.30pm St. Johns, by the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh (Southern White Boys)
1.30pm Douglas, Strand Shopping Centre Douglas (Southern White Boys)
2pm Peel, Michael Street (Peel White Boys)
3pm Douglas, Regent Street Douglas (Southern White Boys)
4pm Peel, Michael Street (Southern White Boys)
5pm Peel, the Dog’s Nollick, East Quay (Peel White Boys)
Hunt The Wren
Looking for something to do on Boxing Day this day? Well how about a Manx tradition that pre-dates Christianity?
Hunt The Wren sees communities come together across the island to dance and sing around the streets. Culture Vannin describe it as: ‘The practice, dating back to pre-Christian times, is centred on a wren, ‘the king of all birds,’ which is hunted and then danced through the streets on a special pole. In case it needs stating, the bird in the wren pole today is just a replica!’
This year, there will be hunts on at
Port St Mary: 10am meet in the Scoill Phurt-le-Moirrey car park
Douglas: 10.15am meet (for 10.30am start) outside the Woodbourne Hotel
Ramsey: 10.30am meet outside St Paul’s Church
St. John’s: 10.30am meet in the Arboretum car park
Willaston: 10.45am meet in Willaston School Car Park (opp. Manor Pub)
Kirk Michael: 11am outside the Mitre pub (going on to Ballaugh)
Ballaugh: 11.20am outside The Raven (going on to Sulby)
Sukby: 11.40am at the Sulby Glen Pub
Cammag is the traditional sport of the Isle of Man, closely related to hurling or shinty in neighbouring Celtic nations. The annual Cammagh match is at 2pm on the field at Tynwald Hill, St John’s after Hunt the Wren on Boxing Day with North facing off against South.