An array of traditional folk customs which still form a part of people’s lives today will feature in a new set of stamps to be issued by the Isle of Man Post Office.
The six stamps highlight a selection of Manx folk traditions, all of which continue to be practised or have been revived throughout the Island.
Designed by Manx illustrator Jay Cover, they will be released on Monday, October 8th 2018. The stamps were printed in Canada using a special Metal FX process that lends gleam and lustre.
The collection will include a four-page presentation pack folder holding a mint set of the stamps, along with complementary issue text written by esteemed Isle of Man writer Valerie Caine, who brings to life the stories behind the Island’s folklore. Also included in the collection is a first day cover.
The traditions featured on the stamps include Hop tu Naa, Hunt the Wren and the Eve of Old Christmas Day.
Commenting on the stamps, Jay explained:
It has been hugely enjoyable to work on the designs of these customs and in many ways each stamp embodies the spirit of the Island.
Working with Valerie Caine was a big help to get started and narrow down the subject matter. I visit the Island three or four times a year so when I was back I picked up as many books as I could about Manx folklore. That sowed the seed for my interest.
Apparently it’s a good sign of a living breathing tradition if you cannot find much information about it, because it means the tradition is still alive.
Jay, who is associate lecturer on BA Illustration at Camberwell College Of Arts, lived on the Island until he was 21 and still has many family here.
His grandfather Jack Greggor is a well-known fisherman in Peel.
I’ve read that historically crofting and fishing provided employment for many Manx people but the work could be strenuous and it was a difficult life,’ Jay added.
Whether celebrating the Melliah harvest festival to the pumpkin free zone of Hop tu Naa and the mysterious figure of Jinny the Witch, these celebrations were a welcome distraction from daily demands.
I miss the Island so this commission has been a wonderful opportunity to come back across more regularly and learn more about the history of some of these celebrations.
It has also been fascinating to research and find out more about the tangible links with the Island’s close neighbours.
Maxine Cannon, General Manager, Isle of Man Stamps & Coins, added:
We have been very pleased to be able to work with Jay to celebrate our very own Manx customs and we are delighted with the designs.
The traditions have been recorded by both local and visiting collectors over the years, including scholars of international reputation, and the words of Valerie Caine further enhance this celebration of customs. I look forward to seeing the continued revival of the Quaaltagh tradition across the length and breadth of our Island as we bring in the New Year.
The Manx Folk Traditions collection is now available to pre-order at www.iompost.com/folk-traditions.
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