Hop tu naa and Yn Mheillea in schools

Mon, 21 Oct 2019


During the last two weeks, over 500 school children have been learning about the Autumn customs of Hop tu Naa and the Yn Mheillea.

Chloe Woolley, Manx Music Development Officer at Culture Vannin and Jo Callister, Advisory Teacher for the Manx Curriculum at DESC, have been on a cultural roadshow, teaching children the songs, stories, dances and folklore associated with these two unique Manx customs.

Schools have been offered these bespoke visits for the last five years, but this year in particular, Jo and Chloe were inundated with requests. Schools who were unable to receive a visit this year are still able to access the many resources on the Culture Vannin website, as are the public, and as a result of Jo and Chloe’s roadshow, more Hop tu naa song resources have been added this week.

Chloe said:

“There has been a definite shift in attitudes and awareness of Hop tu naa amongst the schools visited and it's encouraging to see how proud the children are of their own unique traditions. We have noticed a steady increase in the number of children and teachers who already know Hop tu naa songs, and we were delighted this year to hear yet another different version from a child at St John's school: Hop tu Naa! Hop tu Naa! Jinny the Witch fell into the ditch, she found a penny and thought she was rich!"

Jo said:

“Through the Babban ny Mheillea story and dance, we were able to teach the children about the Mheillea (or Mhelliah), which is Manx Gaelic for harvest, in the context of modern times as many schools have links with the food banks and have their own harvest assemblies. We talked about the foods which are grown locally – including the moots! - and how we shouldn’t take it for granted that we are able to shop for all kinds of foods from around the world at supermarkets today.”

Due to the success of this roadshow Jo and Chloe have plans for future visits focusing on other less well known Manx calendar customs, and they are sure that these will be equally as successful.

To find out more about Hop tu naa and Yn Mheillea visit: The Manx Year

And to watch some new videos of some of the less well known Hop tu naa songs:

Castletown Version: youtu.be/YHvsbqlLI2A
Ramsey Version: youtu.be/5iwgnHc8lUI
"My Mother's Gone Away": youtu.be/wKNhnQ7tH3Q

So when children come to YOUR door on Hop tu Naa night, with their turnip lanterns, make sure you ask them to sing you a Hop tu Naa song!