31 December 2010

Cairioll Callaig

In Scotland, after the Reformation, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed -- it was considered 'too Romish' -- and Hogmanay, the new year's celebration, became the major winter festival. Not that the Kirk much approved of Hogmanay, either, of course. Christmas festivities have been revived in Scotland, but Hogmanay remains a major holiday. Below is an English version of one of the Hogmanay songs recorded by Alexander Carmichael in the Carmina Gadelica; it was probably meant to be sung by a 'first-footer' upon arriving at a house.  Happy New Year, everyone, and great good luck and blessings to you all.

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.

Carmina Gadelica/Ortha nan Gaidheal No. 64

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...