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How many have heard of Cork’s Hansel tradition at New Year?

On the matter of tradition — are you aware of the old Cork New Year custom of ‘Hansel’?

It’s amazing how many Cork-born people who are not familiar with this.

Back in the day, when I was young, my father would give each of us a silver coin for good luck on New Year’s Day. He would also visit our neighbours and hand out coins.

I have kept this tradition alive and extended the tradition to any person I met while out jogging in the early hours of January 1st.

This year, the first person I met was a lady (Cork born) out walking who had never heard of the tradition but gratefully accepted the coin with thanks and a peck on the cheek.

Next was a young man — running strongly up Maryborough Hill — who kindly stopped his watch while accepting the coin.

Next was another Cork-born man, parking his car, who also had never heard of the tradition but also gratefully accepted my wishes with thanks.

I still had two coins remaining so on my way home, I went into a “rest home” and rang the bell.

I declined an invitation to step inside as I was dripping rain but got the message across to the foreign nurse at the door (silver coin — keep for one year — it brings good luck)

I returned home satisfied with a job well done.

I am still amazed each year how many people who are not familiar with this tradition.

We must keep it going.

Michael Moriarty


Co Cork


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