A Special Merry Christmas from St Ives !
Video commissioned by St Ives Holidays.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the video, and especially to the Glass Tree St Ives, Sherry & Don, for their precious help and time into this production.
From the St Ives RNLI Lifeboat, The St Ives Band, Father Christmas, The Pirates, The Cornish Candy Shop, The Balancing Eel, The Allotment Deli, The Wharf Post Office, Harvey Bros, Willy Waller, St Ives Bakery, Millennium St Ives, The Castle Inn, St Ives Post, The Sloop Inn, St Ives Leather Craft, Cath Kidston St Ives, St Ives Library, Oska, Homemade Gift, Trim, The Sloop Craft Market, Café Art, The Albatross, The Queens Hotel, St Ives Gallery.com, The Golden Lion, The Legendary Colenson, Norway Store, The Wonderful Bear Factory, Fat Willy’s and Fore Street Methodist Church.
A special Christmas thanks to St Ives holidays and Lanham’s for making this video possible.
Christmas (Nadelik) was celebrated in Cornwall when it had become unfashionable to do so across the rest of Britain. In fact many of the customs we now think of as Christmas traditions were collected in places like Cornwall in the early 19th Century.
“Nadelik Lowen Ha Bledhen Nowyth Da” – Merry Christmas and Happy New year in Cornish.
Numerous distinctive traditions and practices are associated with this time of year in Cornwall including;
- The Cornish Christmas Bunch
- Cornish church towers being illuminated on Christmas-eve
- Triumphal arches of evergreens and flags were often seen in towns and villages
- Guise-dancing – Participants dressed in gentlemen hand me downs and wearing masks would tour the town entertaining others with music and dance for a full description of the practice of guise dancing. Often led by a “Lord of Misrule” or master of ceremonies.
- Candle Dancing – dancing around a basket full of sand with brightly coloured candles in it
- The Twelfth cake – And the general celebration of 12th night as a feast.
- The lighting and chalking of the Mock or Block. It was a tradition to draw a chalk man on the Christmas or yule log to symbolise the death of the old year and the start of the new. This was a communal activity and is still performed in public during the Montol festival in Penzance.
- The Cornish Christmas Carol – Cornwall has provided a suprisingly large number of Carols known throughout the world.
- The distinctive tunes of the regional Cornish Carols such as the St Ives and Padstow carols.
- The distinctive Cornish carol tunes composed by Thomas Merritt.