London Manx Society Celebrate Mhelliah 2016

Members of London Manx Society (Manx: Yn Cheshaght Vanninagh Lunnin) attended a Mhelliah Service at St Bride's Church in London's Fleet Street on Monday 10th October. A Mhelliah is a traditional Celtic harvest festival that remains popular on the Isle of Man (Manx: Mannin), and is celebrated annually by London Manx Society. In his novel 'The Manxman', a 1894 novel by the Manx writer Hall Caine (14 May 1853 – 31 August 1931), he describes the festival:

"On the day when the last of the harvest is saved in the Isle of Man, the farmer gives a supper to his farm people and to the neighbours who have helped him to cut and house it. This supper, attended by simple and beautiful ceremonies, is called the Mhelliah."

The London Manx Society was formed in 1895 as an idea by Mr J.J.Cowin, the son of a well-known draper in Douglas (Manx: Doolish) . On the 28th of November that year, the inaugural meeting was held in the vestry of St.Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, with Deemster S Stevenson Moore as its first President. Since then, the Society has met regularly keeping alive its long tradition of providing a focal point for Manx people, and those with Manx connections, who live in and work in the London area and the south-east of England.

London Manx Society also have a long association with St Bride's Church in London’s Fleet Street, where the annual Mhelliah Service is held. St. Bride's is one of the oldest churches in London. It is traditionally thought to have been founded by St Bridget of Ireland in the sixth century or in her name by Celtic monks. Remnants of the first church on the site are said to have significant similarities to a church dedicated to St Bridget of the same date in Kildare (Irish: Cill Dara), in Ireland. The present church is thought to be the seventh church to have stood on the site. The most recent having been designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1672.

The annual London Manx Society Mhelliah Service included prayers spoken and written in Manx Gaelic. The Mhelliah Service concluded with the singing of the Manx National Anthem. After which a celebration lunch was held in the nearby Punch Tavern in Fleet Street.


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