Staff Pick - Making Wisps for the New Year

Staff Pick - Making Wisps for the New Year

Date: 09/01/2023 09:45

Mute footage from the Ulster television archives of the countryside tradition of making "wisps" for the New Year. This is picked up here with delight by children from the County Down fishing town of Kilkeel. Said to represent straw from the manger of Jesus these bunches twisted together are gathered from haystacks by the children and fashioned into the wisps. 

Leaving the farm buildings behind, against the beautiful Mourne mountain backdrop, the children then begin the tradition of taking the wisps around local houses to be hung up by those answering their heavy knock. However, this is not entirely an altruistic venture to spread good luck for the New Year. Money can be seen exchanging hands for the pleasure of taking in the handful of straw. 

Managing to sell three wisps to the same household, the children are soon off again and the supplement to their pocket money certainly gets the New Year off to a good start for them at least.

Watch the video here.