On Tue, 27 Jul 2010 01:28:19 +0000, Bernard Morgan
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>“The origin of the May bush, or burning tree, was thus described by an
intelligent peasant, who had it from his father, an old man about eighty
years of age, well versed in the old traditions of the people....
Have you noticed the technique of quoting an old guy from the village, as if
this somehow gives a more accurate account? It's used a fair bit, especially
when the 'evidence' is a bit dodgy. Have you also noticed the same rationale
is used in DNA analyses? Therefore joyously, near the end of the first
decade of the 21st century, we can declare we ignore the lessons of the
past, and still fail to look for shared derived features to provide a
cladistic tree of development, but rather hang on to the idea of slow
mutation where reaching back gives a proportional retrieval of the past.
There's this snippet concerning burning may bushes as well: a contemporary
Making a May Bush for Beltane
Beltane is on May 1st and it’s a very old celebration to mark the beginning
of the summer season. Long ago, children saved the colored shells from their
hard-boiled Easter eggs and added them to the decorations for the May Bush
which was a small shrub chosen for the honour. It was cut down and placed in
front of the house in the days or weeks before Beltane. The children would
then decorate it with flowers, ribbons, and Easter egg shells. Candles or
rush lights were attached to the bush and were lighted at dusk. In the
cities, the May Bush was made by neighbours and sometimes there were
attempts to steal it by folks from other neighbourhoods. It was said that
you’d be taking the year's luck from the rightful owners. So, the May Bushes
were fiercely guarded until the evening of May Day, when the bush would be
cast into the Beltane Bonfire.
Easter and Beltaine remain inextricably linked - Patrick got the political
result needed in usurping Beltaine in favour of Easter, but real people are
also very conservative. But though Roman timekeeping came to replace Celtic
timekeeping, the old ways kept on keeping on...
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