Rubbing Molly Malone
Sir, – The rubbing of Molly Malone’s breasts is not a unique case of a tradition that has been established recently (Bernice Harrison, “Shining example – An Irishwoman’s Diary on the Molly Malone statue and inventing a tradition”, September 27th).
For good luck in their exams, students of Clare College, Cambridge, rub the nose of the bronze bust of Sir David Attenborough, which was only sculpted by the renowned architect and artist Celia Scott in 2007.
As defined, a tradition is “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.”
As they have to start at some point in time, an act is not tradition because it is already old, but becomes one by being repeated. As long as she plies her static trade on the streets of Dublin, people will be rubbing Molly’s breasts for generations to come. – Yours, etc,