Quantcast
DECK THE HOLIDAY'S

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

ROSH HASHANAH, THE JEWISH NEW YEAR!!







 The story of the origin of the Rosh Hashana remains incomplete unless we know the history of the Hebrews. We come to know about the early Hebrews mainly from their own writings in the Old Testament, stories from the Bible, and excavations over the past century.
   The Hebrews were descended from wandering tribes of Semites in the Near East. They were not at first one people, although their languages were very similar, and they did not all arrive in what was to become their land at the same time. The first tribe had been living in Mesopotamia at the end of the 3rd millennium B.C.
   Then at around 1900 B.C. their lifestyle changed as they were led by Abraham, an experienced farmer, to move westwards in search of new land to settle down and start a strife-free living. It is believed that Abraham, a great devotee of Hashem, the lord of God, was even ready to sacrifice his own son when asked to do so. But later Hashem, who was testing his devotion, prevented him. Finally a ram was sacrificed in the place of his son.












   After much wandering, the Hebrews under Abraham, settled near Hebron in lower Canaan. Before long other Semitic tribes joined them, or set up separate communities nearby. There these Semites, later called the Hebrews, continued their life.
But with the rough and dry climate Palestine proved to be unfit for living to the descendants of Abraham and his tribesmen. Some of the more enterprising Hebrews left the country and sought a new and more secure living in the fertile Nile Delta. The pharaohs there accepted them for their abilities and special skills.
    Then in about 1750 B.C. Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos. These Semitic warriors were kinsmen of the Hebrews. Hebrews enjoyed some prosperity under the Hyksos.
But when Pharoah Ahmose I, finally expelled the Hyksos from Egypt, the Hebrews had to pay the price of their kinship. They were enslaved and had to spend their lives working on the enormous monuments and tombs that the pharaohs had erected for themselves. This bondage lasted some three hundred or more years.









    In about 1250 B.C. a new religious leader, named Moses, emerged among the Hebrews in Egypt. This great man, of high intelligence and strong moral principles, determined to win a better life for his people. He organised a resistance campaign against their Egyptian masters. Concerned by this the Pharaoh, Rameses II, allowed Mosses to lead his people out of the country altogether. This movement back towards Canaan is called the Exodus. It was an event of vital significance in Hebrew history. Because it gave them the feeling of national unity for the first time.
    Moses turned to the formulation of laws and the establishment of religious principles. The Biblical story of the laws of Moses is a simple one. The great leader presented the Ten Commandments dictated to him by God to the people in the Sinai desert. Over the centuries the Hebrews had developed and after Moses they continued to develop - a whole moral and practical code of living which they called the Torah.
   The basis of this is found in the first five books of the Old Testament (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). The Torah has similarities with the Code of Hamurabi, from which some of it is derived. What Moses did was to organize the compilation of these laws and principles as he found them and provide a background for his successors to improve upon.









    As a result, for the next few centuries at all events, few Hebrew leaders of war or government were not also religious leaders. Many of them were prophets, as well, whose careers and sayings are preserved in the books of the Old Testament.
   Moses, however, died before the Hebrews actually reached Canaan. When they did get there they split up into tribal communities, each retaining a sort of independence under the accepted laws. But it was not long before the Hebrew settlers ran into trouble with the other peoples who had already been living in Canaan for a long time. Among these were warlike cousins of the Phoenicians, the Philistines, who occupied a series of small towns along the coast Mount Carmel. Gradually they built up a chain of strong and beautiful cities, joined loosely by a sort of federation.
   The Philistines ragarded the Hebrews as a dangerous threat to their security and the two peoples often went to war. It was Samson who led the Hebrews to score victory against the Philistines. After Samson's death it was Saul, an able statesman, under whom the Hebrews set up their first royal dynasty. Though not a good general, he did set the stage for a workable political organization which was successfully continued by his son-in-law David.










   David was elected the King of the Hebrews in about 1010 B.C. A soldier, statesman, prophet and law-giver, he is best remembered from the Bible for his exploit in slaying the Philistine giant, Goliath, with a stone hurled from his sling. It has become an allegory for what must have been the real achievement of a defeat of the Philistines by a Hebrew army of much smaller size. He ruled for nearly 30 years and enlarged Hebrew territory. It was under him that a small town of Jerusalem was turned into the capital city of his kingdom. David was succeeded by his son Solomon after his death in 970 B.C. Solomon earned name in history for his rich and wisdom.
   After Solomon's death the political unity of the Hebrews collapsed. And the kingdom was divided into two unequal and independent parts - Israel, the larger, in the north with Samaria as the capital, and Judah, the smaller, in the South, retaining Jerusalem.
   Later Israel began to decline as the old habit of tribal quarrelling continued. In 721 B.C. Sargon II, king of Assyria, invaded Israel, captured Samaria, and deported the Israeli's leaders and most of the people to Mesopotamia, from which they did not return.
   Meanwhile the smaller kingdom of Judah did not suffer the severe Assyrian domination. In 586 B.C. the Babylonian king Nebuchadnazzar II, invaded the country and captured Jerussalem. He destroyed much of Solomon's great temple and many other public buildings. after the destruction of the First Temple and the consequent exile, the glory of Israel was dashed to the ground.











   It was during the rule of Cyrus the Great of Persia who conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. the Jews regained some powers. Then they rebuilt Solomon's temple and reconstructed the decaying city of Jerusalem. Thereafter the Jews lived more or less peacefully through self governance for five hundred years. Then in 70 B.C. when the Jews visited the Roman edicts, the emperor Vespasian's son Titus took Jerusalem. Following this the Jewish people dispersed and left their land to make a living as best they could in different countries throughout the world.


Rosh History

   Strange but true. Though "Rosh Hashanah" heralds the beginning of the pious 10-day period of 'High Holy Days' it is not found in the Torah's discussion. Torah is a compilation of moral and practical code of living the Hebrews had developed over the centuries and its development continued even after Moses. The basis of the Torah is laid in the first five books of the Old Testament (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).
   If Torah refers to Rosh Hashanah as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (a day of Shofar blowing), it appears twice in the Torah.
   One time it is mentioned in Vayikra 23:24 - "...In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a remembrance of blowing of horns ("zikhron teru'ah"), a holy gathering...".
   Again it is found in Bamidbar 29:1 - "...It is a day of blowing the horn ("yom teru'ah") to you".











   Now, the Torah gives no specific reason why the shofar is blown on Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hodesh in biblical times was celebrated in a far more festive fashion than it is today and the blowing on Rosh Hodesh is defined as "a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Yaakov".
   Thus, blowing horns is not particular to Rosh Hashana, but rather is a characteristic to every Rosh Hodesh (new month) - in the form of the blowing of the trumpets. It is blown as an act of remembrance. Why then Rosh is exclusively called a festival of Shofar? It is also possible that blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashana has special significance beyond that of every Rosh Hodesh.
   The meaning of remembrance here is special attention. Zikaron implies that special attention is paid to the object of remembrance as the attention of God is sought for Noah [Bereishit 8:1] as well as Avraham [ibid. 19:28] and Rachel [ibid. 30:22]. The Torah is teaching us that from that moment onwards special providence and close guidance ('hashgaha') was provided for those individuals.



 
Food laid out for an evening feast




    Following the period of Bnei Yisrael's servitude in Egypt, the time comes for their salvation - "And God remembered his covenant... and God knew" [Shmot 2:24-25]. From that moment, Bnei Yisrael were under Hashem's special 'hashgaha'. See the

History of Hebrews

    According to the great Jewish scholar, Rambam (Maimondies), the Shofar is blown on Rosh Hashana to say, "Wake up! Wake up, everyone who is asleep! Remember your Creator! Instead of going around doing things that are not important or worthwhile, take some time to think about what you can do to make yourself into a better person. Give up doing bad things!"
   Rav Saadia Gaon gave many reasons for blowing the Shofar, here are some:
"...Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the world. The Shofar reminds us of Akeidas Yitzchak, (the Binding of Isaac) where Abraham sacrificed a ram in the place of his son. The shofar reminds us that Hashem will redeem the Jewish people. The shofar is the call of redemption.
    The shofar is not blown if Rosh Hashana falls on a Shabbat..."
   As a result, "all the practical individuality - of keeping Torah and mitzvot in their individual detail and conceptual individuality the beliefs concerning the individual's personal connection with eternal life and the individual striving towards it - which had formerly revealed itself and existed as the manifestation of the Divine Idea...
now, with the disappearance of the great light of the nation during the time of the Second Temple, was confined and manifest in its special individual character." Israel lost its nationhood, and now each individual stood on his own merit.
   From then on, G_d did not "remember" Am Israel as a whole, but rather "remembered" each individual separately.




Taking time to worship




    And when each person is judged individually, the Day of Remembrance obviously takes on a much more profound aspect of judgement, and fear replaces joy. The individual is no longer able to hide himself among the many - he stands alone before the King of Judgment.
   

Customs and Traditions

The Feast of Trumpets 

   Food and festivals are intertwined together. The Rosh Hashana is no exception to this.
The rituals used as a part of this 'feast of trumpets', or the feast of shofar, is a festive feast.
    It is a Minhag (custom) during the New Year season featuring sweet foods as a symbol of our desire for a sweet year.
   According to the Talmud, the Jewish scripture, symbolic acts are performed as a good omen, and also as an expression of prayer that the New Year brings good for all.

   The challahs are dipped in honey; and afterwards, on the first night, a piece of apple dipped in honey is also eaten. Honey is also a main ingredient in many holiday recipes.
   After the appropriate blessing on the apple, it is added: "May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year." Other customs include eating the head of a fish, pomegranates and carrots. These foods are eaten as "simanim," "good omens," of success and happiness for the coming year.






Taking in some of the festivities



Prohibitions

    It is also customary to refrain from sleep during the day of Rosh Hashana, and rather to engage in Torah study or other spiritually productive activity. If one is idle, it is as if he slept. The Talmud Yerushalmi writes, "If one sleeps at the year’s beginning, his good fortune likewise sleeps."
   And remember no nuts please on Rosh Hashanah, mainly because the gematria (numeric value) of the Hebrew word for "nut," "egoz" is the same as that for the Hebrew word for "sin," "chet.".
   Finally please keep anger at bay on Rosh Hashana. Always remember that G-d judges us in the same manner as we judge other people. If we get angry easily, so will be He.
   Whatever is done remember:
Y'hee ratzon Hashem sheh-tichadesh alainu shana tovah oomtookah.
"May it be your will Hashem that you renew for us a good and sweet year."

 

Prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem



Tashlich

    This is a popular Minhagim of Rosh Hashana. Tashlich is "casting off" of sins. It is performed after the Mincha prayers, on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashana. However, if Rosh Hashana falls on a Shabbat, then Tashlich is performed on the second day. We walk to a body of flowing water, preferably one containing live fish, say a special prayer, and symbolically empty our pockets into the river, casting off our sins.
The Tashlich service is a Minhag based on the verse from Micah (7:9) "and cast into the depths of the sea all their sins".
   In fact, a great deal of time is spent in the synagogue on Yomim Nora'im, praying to Hashem that our sins be forgiven and that we be inscribed in the "Book" of Life.

     


WORLD STONE SKIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS FROM EASDALE ISLAND!

world stone skimming championships Easdale Island Scotland

 



The World Stone Skimming Championships 2017 will take place on Sunday 24 September 2017 on Easdale Island, near Oban in Argyll, Scotland.

    Easdale Islan  is the smallest permanently inhabited island of the Inner Hebrides. It was once the centre of a thriving Scottish slate mining industry, and one of the disused quarries forms a perfect arena for the World Stone Skimming Championships.
   The championships are held every year on the last Sunday in September. Anyone of any age and any level of skill can enter. Each competitor is allowed 3 skims using specially selected Easdale slate skimming stones.    For a skim to qualify the stone must bounce at least three times - it is then judged on the distance achieved before it sinks.

About The World Stone Skimming Championships











   The World Stone Skimming Championships were started in 1983 by Albert Baker, and then lay fallow until they were resurrected in 1997 by the Eilean Eisdeal (The Easdale Island Community Development Group) as a fundraising event.                
   Contestants hail from around the world and the championships now attract over 300 participants and many spectators. Anyone of any age and any level of skill can enter the championships.                    
   The competition is split into Ladies, Men, Junior Boys and Girls and Under 10s Boys and Girls categories. There is also the Old Tosser category for those entrants who have reached the experienced and veteran heights of no longer being in their 50s! Entrants to this section will throw at the same time as the other adults in the order in which they register. Be sure and mark your registration form if you wish to enter this category!
Team category. Team members register as individuals as normal but, in addition, name the team that they are taking part in. Teams must consist of four individuals, of either sex, but of the same age category. Their three throws count towards their individual entry AND the Team entry.









   Team members will have the total length of their three throws added together, then each team member's individual total will be added together to form the team total. The winning team will be the team that throws the largest cumulative total meters thrown by all four entrants.
   An individual can win in both the individual event and as part of a team from their one lot of three throws. Team members pay the same entry fee as an individual entrant, with no extra team charge.


Official Rules of the World Stone Skimming Championships are:

  • Skimming stones must be no more than 3 inches in diameter and formed naturally of Easdale slate
  • To qualify, the stone must bounce no less than 3 times and stay within the designated lane as marked by the buoys
  • Skims are judged on the distance thrown rather than the number of bounces
  • The judges' decision is final




Tools of the trade

 


Categories and entrance fees:

Adult Women and Men (16 and over) - entrance fee: £4
Old Tossers (60 and over) - entrance fee: £3
Junior Girls and Boys (age 10-15 years) - entrance fee: £2
Under 10s Girls and Boys - entrance fee: £1
There is no extra charge for an individual also taking part as a member of a team.


   The World Stone Skimming Cup is presented to the over-all winner, and the Sea-fari Salver for the best women's skim and The Puffer Trophy for the winning team. There are also slate medals going to the best junior skim and 2nd and 3rd runner-up in each category. 'The Bertie', named after the event's founder, is presented to the Easdale Islander who skims the furthest. 2009 saw the launch of a new award, 'The Old Tosser Walking Stick', for contestants over 60 with the longest skim.





Awards Ceremony





   The 356 competitors in this year's competition represented 12 different countries: Denmark; England; France;  Germany; Holland; Ireland; Italy; New Zealand; Scotland; Singapore; Sweden and Wales.

 



 

GLENBEIGH HORSE FESTIVAL AND RACES FROM IRELAND!













 The 2017 running of the annual Glenbeigh Horse and Pony Races took place on Rossbeigh Strand from August 25th to the27th. The races will be the centrepiece of a weekend festival. This years live band is the world renowned DEUCES WILD who will take to the stage on Saturday Night. Race dance music on the Sunday night is in “Linda Ryan’s”. The local pubs of the area are also playing their part, with fantastic nightly entertainment in “The Towers Hotel”, “Ashes Bar”, “The Red Fox Inn, and “Linda Ryan’s”. The Opening ceremony will be held on the Friday night with the inauguration of the Festival Queen. This year we will decide on the festival queen at the Red Fox Inn on the opening night.









HISTORY

   The Glenbeigh Races were first held on Rossbeigh Strand in 1924. However this was to prove to be a costly venture as the local Garda Sergeant, a Mr. Scannell summonsed the organisers to court for their failure to have the required permit. The four people summonsed were:

Diarmuid O’Sullivan (grandfather of Peadar, current Race Committee Joint Treasurer)
Tom Cahill of Droum
Pat Morris of Mountain Stage (the then proprietor of the shop in Mountain Stage)
Tom Jones, then a local school teacher










   For this they were fined £80, a huge sum of money then, later reduced to £20, still a considerable amount of money. Coming close to the ending of the divisive Civil War one can speculate that there might have been differing attitudes to the legitimacy of the administration of the legal remit involved. Needless to say, having suffered such penal penalties there were no further attempts to host the races for quite a while.
   It wasn’t until 1957, that another attempt was made to host racing in Glenbeigh.










Amongst the organisers were Patrick Clifford and Johnny O’Mahony, and they are still today active and involved the organisation of Glenbeigh Races. Over the next number of years, Glenbeigh began to become established as a holiday location, helped by the growing international reputation of the Towers Hotel, and the races held in late July / Early August grew to be the centrepiece of a festival that stretched to over ten days. Indeed, the hotel proprietor at that time, the larger than life Ernie Evans used to host a party in his house at Rossbeigh on raceday which became the place to be for those who perceived themselves to be “celebs”.
   Initially a one day event, the Glenbeigh Races became a two-day meeting before reverting back to one day. One year, the organisers even attempted to host jump-racing, but this proved to be a disaster as horses cannot get enough grip on the hard sand of Rossbeigh to enable them to jump properly, and all that resulted was a series of










refusals, unseated riders and horses running out. Another less than successful innovation was the introduction of Sulky Racing (Trotting Races where the horses pulled a small lightweight cart or gig, also known as Standardbred Racing). While the surface was in this case ideal, the public were not interested and despite the popularity of this sport in West Cork, the experiment in Glenbeigh was abandoned. However by the mid 1970’s interest in the Glenbeigh Races was dwindling, largely brought about by the small number of horses participating, and the uncompetitiveness of the racing. In what was to prove to have disastrous consequences, there were no races held in 1978, so when racing was scheduled for 1979, the Public Liability Insurance Premium jumped to £9000 – because no premium was paid in 1978, a new policy was required, and the old rate was lost. For that year the London-Glenbeigh Association paid the premium, but with such unsustainable costs for Public Liability Insurance, the races ceased.










   In 1996 the Glenbeigh Races were resurrected following the negotiation of an umbrella insurance policy that enabled all Horse and Pony Racing throughout the country to avail of Public Liability Insurance at reasonable cost. Under the guidance of people such as Pat and Joan Griffin, Johnny O’Mahony, Patrick Clifford, Paddy Finn and Brendan Sweeney, and backed by the very generous sponsorship of many benefactors, the races grew from the initial one day, to become a two day meeting. Glenbeigh Races is now one of the biggest race meetings on the Horse and Pony Racing Calendar




 
 
 
 
 
 
FRIDAY 25th AUGUST 2017

Family Fun - The Village/Football Field (6pm - 9pm)
Radio Kerry outside broadcaster 6 to 9pm

6.00pm:            Childrens Fancy Dress parade and competition
                          (Starting in Towers Hotel Car Park)
7 - 9pm:            Dog Show, Terrier Dog Racing, Pony rides

Throughout the evening: Bouncy Castles, Face Painting,
All in the Football Field.


Music Trail:
Rosspoint: 8pm - Haulie and Giggs Debut
Ashes Bar: 9.30pm - Ken & Anthony
TheTowers: 9.30pm - Flog the Dog

10.00pm: The Red Fox Inn - The Real Deal followed by DJ till late
Festival Grand Opening 
The Red Fox will again host the official opening of the Glenbeigh Festival, where our Honoary Lifetime Festival President John Griffin will hand over the chain of office to our New 2017 President Tony Hayes with live music by 'The Real Deal' followed by the selection of the 2017 Festival Queen and DJ till late

12.00pm: The Red Fox Inn 
Festival Queen Announcment



SATURDAY, 26th AUGUST 2017


Time 2pm:  Horse Racing - Rossbeigh Beach - 2pm Sharp
Top class horse and pony racing will take place on the golden beach.
Festival Marquee with full bar and showing GAA matches
4.30pm: Festive Beach Marquee - Live music and dancing following the last race curtosy of Rosspoint Bar and Restaurant


7pm - The Village Square Open air Concert 
This years open air Gig Rig bands kick off at 7pm in the Village Square
The Rising - 7pm
Flog the Dog - 9pm
The Midnight Sons - 12 midnight


SUNDAY, 27th AUGUST 2017

12 Noon: The Village - Ashes Bar - Open Air Music and Irish Dancing Display 

Trad session with Traditional Irish Dancing Display outside Ashes Bar

Time 2pm: Horse Racing - Rossbeigh Beach - 2pm Sharp
Top class horse and pony racing will take place on the golden beach of Rossbeigh
Feature race the Glenbeigh Invitational Race
Donkey Derby - for a bit of fun!
Best Dressed Ladies, Gents and children competition. So put the glad rags on and maybe bag yourself some prizes!!
Festival Marquee with full bar and showing GAA matches

4.30pm: Festival Beach Marquee - Live music and dancing after the last race curtosy of Rosspoint Bar and Restaurant

7 - 9pm: Ashes Bar - live music with Colcannon


10pm Sweeneys Bar - Race Dance 
live music by Neally O Connor


BOGNOR REGIS INTERNATIONAL BIRDMAN COMPETITION FROM ENGLAND!






   The Bognor Birdman event first started on the South coast of Britain in Selsey in 1971, where a prize was given for anyone who could fly the grand distance of 50 yards. Nobody managed it! After a few years the event started to attract quite a crowd and in 1978 the term Bognor Birdman was coined when the event moved to its present location in Bognor Regis. Why Bognor Regis is open to debate - perhaps it was some forward thinking person at the local council - perhaps it's because the sea has a strong incoming tide to help bring people back to the beach, perhaps it is because one of the original competitors came from Bognor, it certainly isn't because it is an easy place to get to. Anyway, the event has evolved and gets ever more popular. Every year a collection of brave daring men and women dress up in bizarre outfits and become Bognor Birdmen. They compete against one another by trying to fly through the air the furthest. Some people would say that they are just a bunch of adventurous nutters who jump off the end of a pier and end up getting cold and wet when they land in the sea. Either way, it's a fun event which benefits a number of good causes.








Bognor Birdmen

   The event gets bigger and bigger every year so much now that the, ahem, "organisers" at the ludicrously named Arun District Council restrict the numbers of Birdmen taking part! However local government workers cannot stop people having fun. Today the birdmen of Bognor event is very popular and has a tremendous following with many nationalities taking part and the whole event attracts media interest from all around the world. Many spectators go along for a day out in the sunshine and take great pleasure in seeing people jump off a pier. The spectators also witness a number of 'professionals' who make quite an effort at seriously trying to fly! These brave souls are normally unhitched extreme sports types and/or experienced hang gliding types who generally don't mind having their hang glider get trashed when it crashes into the sea!









   The Bognor Birdmen event also attracts serious international competitors and in 1984 German Harold Zimmer flew 57.8 metres and walked away with £10,000 so it's not all totally batty! In fact, during the 1980s the event was dominated by the Germans and by 1990 the record stood at an incredible 71 metres. Also in 1990 the Germans took 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.
These days if anyone "flies" 100 metres, the prize is a cool £25,000 - about 40,000 US Dollars !
   Although Carl Christensen made a valiant attempt in 1999, and won the prize for best fancy dressed Bognor Birdman, but his magic flying carpet stalled so he did not fly too far - something like 5 metres, so he was some way short of the record distance. The current unbroken record which stands at a staggering 89.2 metres, was set in 1992 by a local lad, Dave Bradshaw.








International Birdman 2010

   Bognor Birdman 2010 could be the biggest ever, and lets hope the local Arun District council do not try and wiggle out of staging the event, as they did in 2008 and 2009, handing the event to Worthing, citing ludicrous PC elf and safety excuses. As the popularity of the event has spread, more people want to come and watch and see who will be the crowned best International Birdman 2010. Of course, everyone who takes part will have fun, and as the cliché goes, everyone will be a winner atthe 2010 event. The day will as always be popular for the spectators, the competitors, their friends and families. Maybe if the council get their act together they could stage a successful Birdman 2011, but don't hold your breath. They seem to forget Bognor is more famous for its Birdman competition than it is for anything else, including the local Butlins.
   The event has now got so popular, it has gone international, with competitors from many different countries eager to take part and entertain the crowds which often number up to 25,000. Most of the International Birdmen will be jumping trying to raise money for charity. Every year feathers fly as birdmen from around the world compete for the title of International Birdman. There have been all sorts of   










International Birdman entries over the years including a flying tardis from Dr Who, a skateboarding cow and even a chicken and mushroom pie. Historical note - the first Birdman competitors were not international - as competitors such as Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and a naked man called John were all British, but now International Bognor Birdmen come from throughout the world.

Bognor Birdman Competition

   If you are considering being a competitor, please bear in mind it isn't really a competition in the normal sense of the word. Sure there will be a winner, so it is a competition, but very few of the people who take part are truly competitive when it comes to wanting to win the event. Most people taking part in the Bognor Birdman competition are well meaning folks, trying to do their bit for charirty, and have no intention of winning the competition. They are doing it primarily for fun. That is not to say that people taking part are not competitive, it's more that they are fun loving nutters.








   Although the event is now very popular, the fun is in watching all sorts of people who come to Bognor for the event. The competitors are a right mix, and there is generally a Batman or a Superman there each year. Amongst the many foolhardy folks there, you may find a green magic dragon whose wings misfunction, a fun loving chap with a flying carpet that stalls, a nutter who is the spitting image of Dracula, whose cape mysteriously fails to open, a crazy American  with a beak and a three inch propellor on his head, or maybe an alien from the planet Zarg whose alien antennas do not give him the lift he expected.
   One or two souls are semi-serious and take part in hang glider-esque contraptions. One man, Ron Freeman does such a thing year after year, and each year his aircraft, as he lovingly refers to his battered old hang glider, needs serious repair work. Good for Ron though to take part - most serious hang gliders won't put their gliders anywhere near the competition for fear of personal ridicule and damage to their flying machine. Look around this Bognor Birdman site and you will get a feel for the kind of nutters who have been Bognor Birdmen in the past. These are just a few









Bognor Birdman pictures. As you can see some Bognor Birdmen are nutters, some are serious, but it's a fun day out for all who take part, and their friends.
   If you are the kind of person who is interested in flying through the air with big pants and string then maybe you would like to find out more about Online Dating. It works, as does speed dating - and most attendees are generally people who enjoy themselves so at least that's one thing Speeddating afficianados have in common with Bognor Birdmen! Maybe you should give it a go.
-->

Monday, September 11, 2017

HORN DANCE FESTIVAL FROM ENGLAND!!






   The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance involving reindeer antlers and a hobby horse that takes place each year in Abbots Bromley, a small village in Staffordshire, England.

Origins

   There are no recorded references to the horn dance prior to Robert Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire, written in 1686. However, there is a record of the hobby horse being used in Abbots Bromley as early as 1532, and it is possible that the horn dance component of the custom was also present at that time but not commented upon by the writer.  A carbon analysis discovered that the antlers used in the dance date to the 11th century - though these may well have replaced an even older set. According to some, the use of antlers suggests an Anglo-Saxon origin along with other native Anglo-Saxon traditions that have survived into modern times in various forms.  It has been speculated, for example, that the dance originated in the pagan period and was











connected with the ruling dynasty of Mercia, based some 15 miles away at Tamworth, who owned extensive hunting lands in Needwood Forest and Cannock Chase surrounding Abbots Bromley. On this theory, the royal forester would have organised sympathetic magic rituals to ensure a plentiful catch each year, a tradition that survived into Christian times and gradually came to be seen as affirming the villagers' hunting rights. Even when the lands were granted to Burton Abbey in 1004 a forester would still needed to have been employed, and by the 16th century, when the abbey was dissolved, this hereditary position bore the title "Forester of Bentylee" (Bentylee being the wooded area of the parish). From then until the 19th century the dance remained the traditional prerogative of the Bentley family, eventually passing to the Fowell family in 1914 through a marriage alliance. The Fowells continue to run it to this day.
   Such an ancient origin for the dance has been doubted by some folklorists, who point out that while the reindeer antlers date to the 11th century, reindeer were long since extinct in the England and wales (and probably Scotland), and there is no evidence that any domestic reindeer herds remained at that time. Therefore, even more confusingly, the antlers must have been imported from Scandinavia at some point between the 11th and 17th centuries. This fact may lend weight to the theory that the custom originally began with only a hobby horse, and the horn dance component was added later, explaining why only the former was mentioned by 16th century sources.










   The dance was, like similar events throughout the country, temporarily discontinued during the Commonwealth years. Prior to this, according to Robert Plot, it was performed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Twelfth Day, in addition to the local Wakes Monday - though upon its revival in 1660 it was confined to the latter alone.

Event

   The Horn Dance attracts a large number of visitors to the village. As well as the dance itself, Wakes Monday sees a Fair on the village green; Morris dancing; and numerous other attractions. The right to hold this Fair was granted to the village in 1221.









Date and schedule of performance

   The Horn Dance takes place on Wakes Monday, the day following Wakes Sunday, which is the first Sunday after 4 September. In practice, this means that it is the Monday dated between September 6th and September 12th.
The dance starts at 08:00 with a service of blessing in St Nicholas Church, where the horns are housed. The dance begins on the village green, then passes out of the village - but not out of the Parish - to Blithfield Hall, owned by Lady Bagot.
The dancers return to the village in the early afternoon, and make their way around the pubs and houses. Finally, at about 20:00, the horns are returned to the church, and the day is completed with the service of Compline.
   The dance starts at 08:00 with a service of blessing in St Nicholas Church, where the horns are housed. The dance begins on the village green, then passes out of the village - but not out of the Parish - to Blithfield Hall, owned by Lady Bagot.
The dancers return to the village in the early afternoon, and make their way around the pubs and houses. Finally, at about 20:00, the horns are returned to the church, and the day is completed with the service of Compline.










Dancers

   There are 12 dancers. Six carry the horns and are accompanied by musician playing an accordion (a violin in former times), Maid Marian (a man in a dress), the Hobby-horse, the Fool (or Jester), a youngster with a bow and arrow, and another youngster with a triangle. Traditionally, the dancers are all male, although in recent years girls have been seen carrying the triangle and bow and arrow.
   Until the end of the 19th Century the dancers were all members of the Bentley family. The dance passed to the related Fowell family in the early 20th Century in which it remains to this day, though rising house prices has meant that none of them live in the village any longer, with many residing in nearby towns. They have been known to allow visitors to "dance in" if asked politely, and will often invite musicians and others to take part when necessary.







Antlers


   The "horns" are six sets of reindeer antlers, three white and three black. In 1976, a small splinter was radiocarbon dated to around 1065. Since there are not believed to have been any reindeer in England in the 11th Century, the horns must have been imported from Scandinavia.
   The antlers are mounted on small heads carved from wood. Since 1981, the horns are legally the property of Abbots Bromley Parish Council. For 364 days a year, they are on display in St Nicholas Church. They were once kept in the main Village Hall, which is now the Goat Inn, beside the Butter Cross. An alternative set of antlers (red deer) are kept to use when the Dancers are asked, as they are, frequently, to perform outside the Parish boundaries.









Dance
 
   The dance itself is simple, since the antlers themselves have some weight to them and are large and bulky.
   As described by Cecil Sharp, there are 6 figures in the dance. He describes the dance as being done with the participants in a single line; however, it is currently performed with the dancers in a double column.


GIOSTRA DEL SARACINO FROM ITALY!






  Tuscany draws you with an irresistible air to Arezzo transforming a land into a theater filled with a lifestyle of tradition, culture and cuisine. Arezzo which is about 80 kilometers from Florence hosts the Giostra del Saracino or the joust held at the Piazza Grande. This medieval festival displays facets of its old world charm, its famous history, tradition and its tasteful cuisine.









   Held on the first Sunday in September, the procession of La Giostra del Saracino winds its way right down to the Piazza Grande. Originating from the ancient Crusades, this Saracen joust began in the Middle Ages. The Christian Crusaders battled with the Islamic tribes or the Moors of the North African Arabs in an attempt to drive them out of Europe. This Baroque joust started between the 15th and the 16th centuries and gained popularity. But during the 18th century, the royal air that surrounded it declined and lost its notoriety. A brief spell of fame enveloped this game during the Romantic period. With a culture of tradition, the Giostra del Saracino was re-established as a historic event in 1931 with its original 14th century ambience. With the spirit of competition and joy, the joust also takes place when dignitaries and princes visit the city and during important functions, carnivals and weddings.










   Held twice a year, La Giostra del Saracino is also enacted on the third Saturday at San Donato as well as the first Sunday in September at Arezzo. Exciting and exhilarating, this medieval joust starts with an air of anticipation as the procession with eight knights clad in their chain armors canter past on their horses. The knights represent the four quarters of the old city. They are known as the Porta Crucifera in red and green, the











Porta del Foro in yellow and crimson, the Porta Sant’Andrea in green and white and the Porta Santo Spirito in yellow and blue. The parade follows with 311 people dressed in the 14th century apparel and 31 horses trotting along with their riders with multi-colored flags held by the flag bearers. The joust begins with a traditional ritual with the Bishop blessing the armies on the steps of the Cathedral. Then the ‘Araldo’ reads the ‘Disifida di Buratto’, which is a poetic recital, dating back to the 17th century. A greeting is extended to the knights and the authorities who are in charge. A musical chorus ‘Inno del Saracino’ is sung by the Gruppo Musici and a final ‘go ahead’ signal is given by the Magistrates to start La Giostra del Saracino.











   The aim of the joust is to hit the shield held by a wooden effigy of a Saracen. The Maestro del Campo or the Master of the Field gives the signal for the knights to race on their mounts towards the wooden effigy. If the knights miss the target, the Saracen effigy portraying the ‘Puppet King of the Indies’ swings a ball with spikes on it that hits the knight if he is not careful. The crowds cheer as the knight from their quarters finds










his mark, but lapse into silence when he does not and turn to distracting the knights from the other quarters when it is their turn. The knights of the joust who hit the shield of the effigy win the most number of points and go on to winning the prize of the Golden Lance. Arezzo takes you back into the past with its memorable traditions and a culture that traverses the ancient ages

THE BIRD KING RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL FROM FRANCE!




  Since 1986, every third weekend of September, the city of Le Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire) found its Renaissance colors. Through a festival of a high culture, the city takes the guise of an old and true archery contest to get it  back into the glorious past.
    For four days in September, priority is given to street performances and the reconstruction of what  daily life in the sixteenth century in the Velay would have been like.  Tented camps, struggles with the sound of cannon fire, folk artisans, daily cooking and meal time, and  pilgrims on their way to Saint Jacques de Compostela  to set up their tents and compounds for so they can rough it just like their ancestors.
   Each year, several days after the school year has been out, the entire city and its people gather to live and work in the Bird King Renaissance Festival  offering  all who  who attend the festival, to join them for the four days of the  festival.  Many attendees come  in period costumes and they continue their adventure, learning and participating , but this time as actors. Thus everyone and anyone who attends, to the extent of their expertise, can live and work for a few days of friendship and folly in a time of history gone by.

An atmosphere that "breathes" the sixteenth century

  Whether it's costumes, daily life, crafts, cooking, military camps, music and/or dance ... the sites and sounds of the King of the bird must "breathe, sound and look" just like the real sixteenth century.










   Each year, the Renaissance du Puy-en-Velay is a real history lesson  for many schools and their students.  Students are thus likely to move between different sites and locals, exploring the different parts and surroundings of the festival.  They take advantage of all of  the activities that are scheduled for each and every day, many of which are much more educational than it may really seem.
   Journey through a calligraphy workshop, through the learning of flavors, plants, weapons, metalwork from the many participants living and working at the festival  and ending with the old games, diving headlong into the Renaissance is a  full on life expericence you will never want to forget about.

Highlights


    In addition to the programs and festivities offered for the festivals large crowds.  Many street performers and musicians will be strolling in and around the grounds, also at the many different venues that surround the festival.   The King of the Bird is also an opportunity to share many  moments of spectacles and emotions.

Concert In The Land of 1001 Nights











   Ambassador Suleiman the Magnificent wanted to offer our first Sir Francis a gift that would be worthy of a king of his  high quality.
  Also, it is an evening full of perfumes and spices from the East, that will be seen and smelled during the ceremony:  silk, coffee tables, mint tea, colored projections, as you will be the guests of His Highness the Caravensérail and have the chance of leaving you enchanted by the music of DAYAZELL at the nights  concert!

  Renaissance dances











   At the opening of each of the dances,  the group of dancers,  well known throughout  the city, and Pavanes Caprioli, offer evocative dances full of  imagination and of the ball that would have happened at the time of the Renaissance period.
   Then driven in turn by the groups:  Picabofà, Zucati, and Tempradura Waraok, great balls of Velay and the Verbena Harvest,  will provide an opportunity for everyone to discover his and her  talents as dancers through the advice of Mr Sauret, the master of the ceremonies.
    Finally, to complete  the setting of the ball, the walls will be dressed with  colorful images and  the  combination of poetry and surprise ...

 The March of Time in the Footsteps of François I

   More than ever,  the  approach is  to take on the looks of different parts of  Europe and its many cultures, the King of the Bird, in collaboration with the twinning committees department and the departmental committee of hiking.  There has been a new,  organized march to the festival with  costumes and equipment from the Renaissance  time period.  The European guests of twinning committees and all those who might want to try their luck in the conditions of the 16th century, are invited to be at the church square of Polignac on  Saturday, September 17 at 2 p.m., to trace the route used by their ancestors  in 1533 and  by Her Majesty François.   First by stopping at Le Puy Sainte Marie.  At about 2:30, historic marchers parade through the city, partying and marching to the   celebratory music and  will meet up with the Consuls and other municipal officials of the city.

Children's Day










    The  promise for a better future for children born during the year, and for those aged.  The  seven harvests will be welcomed by all the people,  cheering,  in which water, light and nature become the guarantors of a bright future of every child, for they are the  hero's of the day!

  The Parade of Adventurers





 
 
 

    Vellaves groups gather and get ready to embark on the third expedition of Jacques Cartier in Quebec ( the military, farmers, loggers, bad girls chained ...) walk and march  in a procession from the  home of Mgr Galard, to Martouret to bid farewell to His Majesty,  François I.

 Ceremony to the King






 
 
 
 
   Courage is one of the virtues of the people of  Vellaves, they are likely to want to sail with Jacques Cartier on his last expedition to his landing at  Quebec ... However, before leaving the good town of Le Puy Sainte Marie and not knowing when they will see it again, they want to say goodbye to their sovereign people  during a special ceremony,  combining the art of music and dance, in a tribute to the military.

 The Coronation of The King of the Bird 2011






 
 
 
 

    The finals of the archery competition and the unique spectacle of the Coronation of King's,  winner of the Bird 2011, will be held on  Saturday, September 17th,  in the large gardens of Henri Vinay Lice! Also of  note, is that  the coronation will result in many  spectacular sights and sounds,  including the Sonneurs Velay and the Alchymère acrobatic Company.  An event not to be missed!


Presentation of "Embassies of Distant Lands"


    Her Majesty will give the  French representatives the first hearing to listen to them   talk of distant lands and conquests, that they have recently discovered or have long been linked by trade and political  relations. Thus, she will  surely  welcome, as it should be,  the Embassy of Suleiman the Magnificent and the caravans of Samarkand,  returning from their long  journeys on the  Silk Road,  but also the brave passengers of the Isles and other settlements of the city, who presented the many  exotic objects brought back from their expeditions to Aztec, China or in the frozen steps of other northern countries.

The Historic Parade









   The traditional historic parade is on Sunday.  Participants gather at the same time every year.  Thousands of participants will start to convene at approximately 4 p.m at the cathedral, the parade  will finnish up  late afternoon at the top of the Boulevard du Breuil.





Shooting the Bird








    Archery competitions and archery law are the main theme of the celebrations of the King Bird.  Pull the bird was once a widespread custom throughout France.  It was established by Charles V,  after the close of many of the gambling halls and  houses.  Pull the bird was similar  to kill the parrot or Papagaï (the name given to the parrot in Occitan), some of the other well known archery event that had taken place in Europe.
    Le Puy-en-Velay, dates back to 1524.  That year, archers and musketeers  had organized into a brotherhood by the consuls and  were allowed to compete in  the bird to create a healthy rivalry among the younger members of their brotherhood, and thus, in turn to get the younger members to not  "follow your lust of gambling and taverns or deal with a thousand other passions and dissolutions, how youth is subject ".  The shooting of the bird was held annually after that.










    The winner was proclaimed king for a year, during which he was entitled to wear the sword, to attend the processions to the rank of consuls and order " a company fusilhers arquebuziers with sergeans and drums".  He was also entrusted with the keys of the city and  was exempt from taxes.  After a few interruptions in history,  shooting the bird was done regularly until the Revolution.  After this, an attempt to restore the custom of shooting the bird was held onSeptember 3, 1814.   It was not until the inter-war period, from about 1920 to 1940, the tradition gained favor  at Breuil Mercoeur, by historian Albert Vellaves Boudon-Lashermes.
     Finally, it is with the creation of the  Renaissance Festival and of the King of the Bird in 1986, that  the city of Puy,   reestablished the famous festival once again and became a popular tradition to this day.

 The Assistance of the King of the Bird

  Playoffs: Equipment, bows and arrows, is provided by the Organizing Committee of the King of the Bird.  The playoffs will take place at du Breuil, Saturday, Sept. 17, after registration.


    Final coronation of the new King and Prince of the Bird 2011: Finalists will compete in the gardens of  Henri Vinay, Saturday, September 17th. After this competition,  the winner will be announced and crowned "King", by  the archer that  reaches the heart of the bird target or the one that ends up the closest.




The Tented Camps








 One of the greatest features of the King of the Bird is the impressive number of camps that take hold and populate  the grounds around  the city and allow the towns people to live and play in all pomp and circumstance of a Renaissance fare, recreating the festival of a time gone by.