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Celebrate the Traditional Manx May Day 'Laa Boaldyn' at Cregneash Folk Village 20 April 2006

Herald the arrival of summer with Manx National Heritage on Monday 1st May, by celebrating the traditional Manx May Day ‘Laa Boaldyn’, at Cregneash Folk Village from 11am to 5pm.

The centre-piece of this year’s ‘Laa Boaldyn’ event will be the staging of an old Norse custom; ‘The Battle between the Queen of Summer and the Queen of Winter’. This custom, which largely died out on the Island over 200 years ago, is being revived by Manx National Heritage with the help of Rushen Primary School’s Year Five pupils. The mock battle will take place at 3pm in the village. Manx May Day at Cregneash

Plenty of Manx May Day crafts and activities will be on offer for visitors, including making ‘Crosh Cuirns’ - rowan or mountain ash crosses which were traditionally hung in Manx homes to ensure bad spirits and mischievous fairies were kept well away.

There will be demonstrations of traditional Manx cooking, as the May Day feast is prepared, and an opportunity to learn about the history and customs of May Day. The Manx Folk Dance Society will be on hand to teach spring time dances, accompanied by local musicians, and the Manx Poetry Society will be providing ‘Shennaghees’ to tell May Day stories and read local poetry.

Nicola Tooms, Assistant Curator for Manx National Heritage, said:

“We think it will be great fun for the public to be part of our ‘mock battle’ between Winter and Summer at Cregneash this year. ‘Laa Boaldyn’ has its origins in the Celtic calendar, although the battle itself is actually a Norse custom, which was absorbed into the traditional May Day celebrations of the Manx people. This event is a fascinating example of the merging of Celtic and Norse customs on the Isle of Man.”

The mock battle between the two Queens represents the banishing of winter and the arrival of summer. Traditionally, on May Day, a Queen of Summer was chosen from one of the villages on the Island. Both the Queen of Summer and the Queen of Winter would have attendants, along with a Captain and his troops, to protect her. Both sides marched to a patch of common ground and staged a mock battle during which the Queen of Summer was captured and ransomed. Once the ransom had been paid, the Queen of Winter retired from battle, leaving the Queen of Summer to win.

Manx May Day ‘Laa Boaldyn’ starts at 11am and will run until 5pm and visitors of all ages are welcome. Cregneash Folk Village is part of the award-winning Story of Mann and is open from 10am to 5pm daily, until October.

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