taking our culture forward

Something disgusting for Hop tu Naa

Fri, 25 Oct 2019

It is likely to be the most disgusting cake you will ever eat, but it might be worth it!

The traditions for Hop tu Naa include a number of ways in which you can see into the future on 31 October, and Culture Vannin have just released a film exploring one of these traditions.

The Soddag Valloo is a cake baked at Hop tu Naa in complete silence. Everyone there must take part in mixing and kneading the cake, and they are to wait through the baking without saying a word.

This is where the name comes from, as the Manx Soddag Valloo can be translated as ‘Dumb Cake.’

However, rather more difficult than the silent baking is maintaining silence whilst eating the cake, because of what’s in it.

As well flour, eggs and oats, the cake includes eggshells, soot and an overabundance of salt. The result, no doubt, is going to be far from appetizing!

This is demonstrated by sisters, Isla and Maeve Callister, in the short film just released online:

“I don’t think this is a nice cake that you’d find on the Great British Bake Off at all,” laughs Isla.

Their grimaced faces as they crunch through the eggshells and gritty salt says it all!

After eating the Soddag Valloo, the film shows the sisters following the rest of the tradition by walking backwards to bed in complete silence.

The tradition tells us that in the night they would dream of their future spouses.

“Recreating things like this are great fun,” said James Franklin of Culture Vannin. “But they also connect us to traditions stretching back into the past. In doing them today we will not only enjoy ourselves, but also feel more connected to the seasons and to what it is to be Manx.”

The film is available in both English and Manx versions.

‘Soddag Valloo: A Manx tradition for Hop tu Naa’ can be watched for free on the Culture Vannin website, YouTube or Vimeo.