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“Low the sun; short its course”: Tracing the Celtic ritual cycle through music, manuscript and performance

Helen Phelan, University of Limerick, Ireland

Fri, 10/28 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · James Stewart Film Theater

Fund for Irish Studies; Lewis Center for the Arts

This lecture-recital by Professor of Arts Practice at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland, explores the musical and ritualistic evidence for the emergence and continuity of the Celtic ritual cycle, with a focus on the rituals of Imbolc and Samhain, a precursor of Halloween. This presentation traces the evidence for this ritual cycle in both medieval manuscript sources, as well as folkloric traditions. Focusing on music (particularly medieval Irish chant) and story (including the hagiographies or lives of the saints), it suggests a dynamic, syncretic understanding of ritual, moving fluidly between prehistoric, pre-Christian and Celtic Christian practices. It concludes with a proposal concerning the influence of this ritual tradition on contemporary ritual creativity.

Admission: Free and open to the public. All guests must either be fully vaccinated, or have recently tested negative (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen test within 8 hours of the scheduled visit) and be prepared to show proof if asked, or wear a face covering when indoors and around others.

Accessibility: The Stewart Film Theater is an accessible venue. Guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at least one week in advance at LewisCenter@princeton.edu

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