|By Malachy Kearns
As was stated in the last section, the frame
drum is used mainly in religious and cultural festivals.
In Ireland the drum, although rmainly used for entertainment,
still on occasions is used for religious/cultural
festivals. One that comes to mind is St. Stephen's
Day, December 26th - 'The Wren Hunt'! when groups
of people with blackened faces, wearing outlandish
costumes, usually made of straw, parade a captured
wren bird from house to house, playing music and
singing a ceremonial song.
Other festivals which may still be in active
use are, St. Brighid's Day, February 1st; May Day,
May 1st and Halloween, October 31st. The Bodhrán
also features in Mummers Plays and many Harvest
Festivals (the link with the skin tray for winnowing).
A modern day example of how the bodhrán is
still used in a 'ceremonial' way, are the groups
of Bodhrán owners who accompany the Irish soccer
teams to all international fixtures, beating out
the war cry of the Ancient Gael.
The Cross symbolises the 4 roads and Christ's
rule over all things- length, breadth, height &
ANIMALS and BIRDS
Animals and Birds were sacred to the Celts
and many of their Gods and Spirits are represented
with Bird or Animal parts. In The Book of Kells
the Four Evangelists are depicted as
Man for Matthew, Lion
for Mark, Calf for Luke, Eagle
The Spiral is the natural form of growth.
In every culture past and present it has become
a symbol of Eternal Life. Surrounded by the water
as they worked, the Celts (Monks) were constantly
reminded of the flow and movement of the universe.
The spirals they painted represented : the continuous
creation and dissolution of the World; the passages
between the spirals being the divisions between
life , death and rebirth.
Knotwork represented the Human Soul which
it was believed was a fragment of the Divine and
would ultimately return to it's Divine Source. Interlacing
knotwork with it's
unbroken lines symbolises the process of Man's
eternal spiritual growth.