Ortha nan Gaidheal


THE preparation of the seedcorn is of great importance to the people, who bestow much care on this work. Many ceremonies and proverbs are applied to seedtime and harvest.

The corn is prepared at certain seasons of the year, which are seldom deviated from. The rye is threshed to allow 'gaoth bhog nan Duldachd,' the soft wind of November and December, to winnow the seed; the oats to allow 'gaoth fhuar nam Faoilleach,' the cold winds of January and February, to winnow the seed; and the bere to allow 'gaoth gheur nam Mart,' the sharp winds of March and April, to winnow the seed. All these preparations are made to assist Nature in the coming Spring. Three days before being sown the seed is sprinkled with clear cold water, in the name of Father, and of Son, and of Spirit, the person sprinkling the seed walking sunwise the while.

The ritual is picturesque, and is performed with great care and solemnity and, like many of these ceremonies, is a combination of Paganism and Christianity.

The moistening of the seed has the effect of hastening its growth when committed to the ground, which is generally begun on a Friday, that day being auspicious for all operations not necessitating the use of iron.

Niall MacFhionnlaigh, A' Chiste Ghàidhlig, a chuir na teacsaichean seo gu léir bho Carmina Gadelica air an làrach-lìn aig Sabhal Mór Ostaig ann an 1995
2001-04-09 CPD