Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Hero's Portion in modern era

One of the traditions for big feasts in old Ireland was for the warriors to compete to see who would have first cut of the feast (thus being able to choose the choicest meat). In the Cu Chullain tales, they (the warriors) would engage in contests of arms, strength, and skill to decide the winner.

I think the basic premise would be a great addition to the festivities around one of our rituals, but it would have to be put in context for our current lives. It just wouldn't be practical to go tearing through Madison county in a chariot race, even if it does sound like a lot of fun. Plus our society is a lot more egalitarian than that potrayed in the old tales. While stone throwing may sound "traditional", it is about as fair as having a knitting competition. So the challenge would be to have a series of contests that would be balanced overall and doable in an hour or so.

Some thoughts...
Horseshoes. Doesn't rely on strength, and even though horseshoes weren't in use back in the old era, it still "feels right" because of the importance of horses to the Celts, especially the warrior class. Different colored ribbons or yarn could be tied to each shoe to identify them and three tosses could be scored in order of proximity.

Archery. The homestead that plays host to our tribe's festivities has an archery range.

Dice. Yes, the requires no skill at all, but could be included to represent the favor of the gods.

Ogham. Three cards with Ogham would be drawn and the person would have to identify them. This would certainly encourage study :).

Riddles. While this is so Celtic (imo), it would also be hard to do. The best way I can think of off the top of my head is to have three riddles and have people write their answers down. Ideally, the riddles could come from Celtic tales, or be based on events, person, gods and such in them.

Drinking. Oh wait... that's not fair. ;) Granted, it would make up for my lack of archery, but I can't participate anyways.

Which brings me to the next point... the druid would have to act as judge and referee.

If you have no clue why I'm talking about any of this (and are curious) go here... http://www.geocities.com/uncleozzi/pagan.htm .

4 Comments:

Blogger sleepycat said...

And what's wrong with a knitting contest? :-P

What about rotating based on the holiday? Strength and speed for Lughnassah, storytelling/bardic things for Samhain, maybe a knowledge-based challenge like riddles for Imbolc, and something else outdoor oriented for Beltaine. . .

6:12 AM  
Blogger Sherri said...

We can't have a knitting contest because Jeani would win and then I would pout... :)

Here's some more ideas for contests: weeding the garden, cutting firewood, digging the rocks out of the lawn and pasture so I quit hitting them with the mower, clearing 40+ years of trash out of the woods, and putting up fences. No takers? Oh well, it was worth a try! :)

Seriously, I think this is a great idea and Lughnasa would be the traditional time to do it. Maybe we could do some sort of "Telltown Fair" day. We could have the athletic competitions for the athletic types, music and/or storytelling for the bards, and those of us who do crafts could show off some of our creations. It would all tie in with Lugh being the many-skilled.

I also like Jeani's idea of having different contests at the different feasts.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Sherri said...

To see what I'm talking about taken to a much larger scale, check out this site. (Scroll down the page about halfway)

http://www.ciarraide.org/projects.html

9:54 AM  
Blogger Oz said...

I like the tie-in to Lughnasadh and Lugh, especially since we are looking at doing a variety of competitions.

I also like Jeani's suggestion of doing something for each feasting day... maybe we could do something simple for the other feasts, and make it a focus for Lughnasadh and do several?

3:17 PM  

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