Festival in New Derry on Sunday 'a reverse of Thanksgiving'
By Greg Reinbold
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, 6:52 p.m.
The Derry Area Historical Society will host an ancient Celtic festival on Sunday at the historic Fulton House in New Derry.
For the eighth consecutive year, a Lammas Day celebration will be held at the site on Pittsburgh Street, between Route 982 and Pandora Road.
“It just started as a reason to have a get-together at the historic Fulton House and came out of an old tradition of the first harvest,” historical society member John Matviya said. “It's sort of a reverse of Thanksgiving. Instead of being at the end of the harvest, it's at the beginning to celebrate that. There's so much corn around, we decided to make it centered around corn.”
Reviving the holiday celebrated by the early pioneers of the “Derry Settlement” to welcome the beginning of the harvest season, the historical society will welcome the season with fresh, local corn on the cob.
“As all of our events are at the Fulton House, we open it up for the general public and invite our Derry Township neighbors in, and they seem to enjoy this event that we have,” Matviya said.
In Europe and especially northern Ireland, Lammas Day was traditionally a time of community gatherings, market festivals, horse races and reunions with distant family and friends. Among the Irish it was a favored time for “hand-fastings,” or trial marriages, which would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a permanent marriage.
“I don't know of it being carried over here so much, but I suppose a lot of those traditions did stick around for a while. ... We, of course, don't do any of that,” Matviya said of the trial marriages. “But we bring it up that it was one of the things this festival marked over the years. Mainly it's just to welcome the new harvest and get together and celebrate it.”
The Lammas Day festivities will begin at 1 p.m. with a procession from St. Martin's Rectory on Route 982 to the Fulton House.
The Rev. Stephen West will lead the procession from the church, wearing an embroidered cope made by French Canadian nuns in 1860. Upon arrival at the Fulton House, West will bless the fields and the corn, which will be roasted over an open fire. Hot dogs and sauerkraut will be available at the event, which will conclude at 4 p.m. Free parking is available at St. Martin's Rectory.
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Got proof on Tomlin? Let’s hear it
- Ex-Penguins winger Kennedy ‘emotional’ about return
- Ex-Steeler WR Wallace: It was a ‘challenge’ for Haley to use me
- Film about former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis in prestigious festival
- Schmotzer resigns high-paid administrative job with Baldwin-Whitehall
- Allegheny Township man accused of gashing girlfriend’s face with scissors
- 3 accomplices to plead guilty to murder, torture of Mt. Pleasant woman
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- Penguins notebook: Sill thrives on penalty kill
- Sandy Hook 911 calls fuel sensitivity debate
- Student debt owed by Class of 2012 rises to $29,400