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Manx Customs and Traditions - A Manx harvest tradition: The Babban ny Mheillea

Published on 6 Sep 2017

An ancient Manx custom connecting us back to beliefs and practices from Celtic times on the Isle of Man.

Harvest has always been a time for celebration and tradition on the Isle of Man. At the centre of these fouyr (harvest) practices is the Babban ny Mheillea. This harvest baby (as the Manx Gaelic translates) is a small doll made from the last sheaf of corn.

It is met with cheers in the field before then taking pride of place at the centre of the Mheillea celebrations which follow.

The babban is then deposited on the chimney piece, where it brings good luck, or wards of evil in the house, until it is replaced the following year.

The practice of making "corn dollies" stretches across Europe, but the Manx practice on the Isle of Man is unique in both the form which the babban takes and in the way it fits into the wider Mheillea celebrations.

John 'Dog' Callister here creates a Babban ny Mheillea, explaining some of the essential features of this ancient Manx folk craft.

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