Not long til St. Patrick’s Day, when we hope to represent Seven Trees in the 1st annual parade in Bellingham on the 13th. Gemini will be decked to the nines.
Some other old-school shenanigans in the month of March are Whuppity Scoorie – a custom from Lanark, Scotland observed on March 1st. The William Wallace Heritage Trust describes the festival thus:
The enactment of the tradition was reported in the local press (The Hamilton Advertiser) from around the middle of the 19th century. Indeed, the ceremony was originally reported under the heading “The Wee Bell Ceremony”! According to these reports the ‘weapon of choice’ of the children in those days (boys only) was to roll their caps up and tie them with string. When the bell first rang they would then march cheering to New Lanark and fight with the boys from that village who would be marching in the other direction. By 1880, stone throwing had become an integral part of the conflict and the police were required to post men in Braxfield Road to ensure order. The ‘tradition’ was regularly policed thereafter.
It was in 1893 that the Advertiser first referred to “the custom known as Whuppity Scoorie” but the following year it simply referred to “Whuppity Scoorie”. Similarly, the three laps around the church were first mentioned in 1893, although the writer asserted that the custom was 120 years old by then! In 1897, according to the Advertiser report at the time, the Lanark children duly marched to New Lanark but arrived there to find they had no adversaries! They subsequently returned to Lanark chanting, in reference to their only adversaries being the policemen posted to ensure order “We met sixteen policemen and chased them down the brae”.
Another rowdy March holiday is in Cornwall, St. Piran’s Day, held on the 5th. Sounds like a perfect lead-in to St. Pat’s in terms of being a drinking holiday:
“St Piran’s Day started as one of the many tinners’ holidays observed by the tin miners of Cornwall. Other miners’ holidays of a similar nature include Picrous Day and Chewidden Thursday. There is little description of specific traditions associated with this day. However, many observers noted the large consumption of alcohol and food during ‘Perrantide’. The day following the St Piran’s Day was known by many as ‘Mazey Day’, a term which has now been adopted by the revived Golowan festival in Penzance. The phrase ‘drunk as a perraner’ was used in 19th century Cornwall to describe people who had consumed large quantities of alcohol.
St Piran’s day is also celebrated annually in Grass Valley, California to honor the Cornish miners who participated in the area’s mining history beginning in the mid 19th century.”
If you turn the sound up on this video, you can hear thousands of spring peepers celebrating spring in their own amphibian way in the drainage crick behind Seven Trees. Not long until the little native froggies will be turning up in the garden, the berry patch, and any other damp hiding spot…