The Tradition of Christmas Rhyming

Details

Location

Ballycassidy

Year

1968

Source

W.C. Phenix (Filmmaker)

Format

colour

Length

06min 42sec

Audio

sound

Courtesy

Guy Phenix

Rights Holder

Guy Phenix, W.C. Phenix

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.

Description

Colourful footage of traditional Irish mummers, a form of folk theatre.

Rhyming plays typically follow a long-established tradition, comprising three phases - hero-combat, death and revival - and several commonly featured characters, the likes of Saint George, Oliver Cromwell, Jack Straw, Beelzebub...

The resurrection (phase three) is followed by the return of a succession of characters, who deliver lines to encourage donations.

Characters, setting and dialogue, though largely similar, might demonstrate a degree of variety. In this footage, for example, the performance is presented in a farmhouse kitchen, with each of the cast entering in turn. This was typical of south Down, whereas rhymers in parts of Antrim might enter as a group.

 

Notes

This clip from the 1960s, features a procession of rhyming characters, including Oliver Cromwell: "I am Oliver Cromwell / With my long copper nose / I have conquered many nations / As you may all suppose / If you don’t believe what I say / Enter in Beelzebub...

Beelzebub: "Here comes I wee Beelzebub / And over my shoulder I carry a club / And in my hand an oul’ saucepan / I count myself a jolly old man / If you don’t believe what I say...

Enter: Big Bellied Ned, Big Head, Little Devil Doubt, Jack Straw, Prince George, Grand Turk, the Doctor, Biddy Funny.

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