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Tuition in bumbee-cage making for Walk Festival visitors 9 October 2007

Visitors, and locals, taking part in this week’s Walking Festival will be given a Masterclass in making a ‘Bumbee Cage’ by well known Kirk Michael resident John Callister – an expert on Manx folklore and the countryside.

This is one of the more unusual events being lined up for the social aspect of the festival which begins on Thursday October 11th and continues until Sunday 14th. John’s demonstration will form part of a Manx Evening on the Friday night which will also see a talk on the history of the language by Manx speaker Adrian Cain and a slide show, featuring the Calf of Man, presented by Des Robinson.

John Callister was introduced to the wider story of the Isle of Man – and the bumbee cage - by Manx author George Quayle and as a result of having read George’s book entitled Legends of a Lifetime. Now, John is in great demand giving demonstrations of the technique at events throughout the Island.

Legend has it that bumble bees were bad fairies that had done something wrong and, consequently, been sentenced to ‘bumble about’. Children were shown how to make a cage of rushes which had a hole just big enough for the bee to crawl through. When it did so the ‘door’ would be closed and the bumble bee trapped.

John takes up the story:

‘That night the parents would release the bee and leave a stone in its place. They would tell their children that as a result of being captured they had been punished enough and, as a result, turned back into fairies. A stone would be left in the cage as a reminder of what had happened.’

The Walking Festival is centred on the south of the Island with the social events taking place at the Cherry Orchard. As well as the Manx evening on the Friday, there is a Jazz Night with the Manx Jazz Cats on the Saturday and a last night ceilidh, to the accompaniment of the Calor Gas Band, on the Sunday. The Festival begins on the Thursday night when participants register, again at the Cherry Orchard.

Mick Salmon Festival Organiser said:

‘Many other festivals concentrate purely on the walking element but I think one of our successes is the fact that we also have a full social calendar in the evening. People are free to join in, or simply do their own thing, it is entirely up to them, but we feel it creates a special atmosphere if people can socialise in the evening as well. I should emphasise that locals, as well as visitors, can take part in the Festival and the social events. Just come along and join in.’

Admission to each social event is £5.

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