West Side Shetland guisers sang,

Date 28 September 1970
Track ID 42696
Part 1

Track Information

Original Track ID


Original Tape ID



West Side Shetland guisers sang, "Here we go huggeranohni," as they went door to door, sometimes begging in earnest.

A New Year song along the same lines was sung by guisers at Old New Year. An older song 'St Mary's Men are We' was sung at Christmas and Epiphany. Jimmy Johnson recalls one local family of three poor brothers who begged as they went guising door to door. This was a necessity for the poorer families in the days before family allowances. This type of guising was only practised by children below school-leaving age.

Item Notes

The New Year song mentioned here is a fragment of 'Queen Mary's Men', sometimes called 'St. Mary's Men'. A version of it from Walls in Shetland is featured in Tocher 20 (1975, pp. 142-143). 'Here we Come Huggeranohni' mentioned by Mr Johnson as being a different song, may be another, later, version of the same 'Queen Mary' song, but few traces of it seem to exist. 'The Scottish National Dictionary' (available online [[]], accessed 7 May 2009) treats 'huggeranohni' as a form of 'Hogmanay'.

Old New Year had a different date, owing to the continued traditional use of the Julian calendar.

See also:
'Folk-Song of the North-East' (G. Greig, K. Goldstein & A. Argo, 1963 reprint) art. CLII
Greig-Duncan vol. 3, p. 519, no. 641 (from Orkney)
'Popular Rhymes of Scotland' (Robert Chambers, 3rd edn, 1870) pp. 167-169 (from Deerness, Orkney)
'Art Rambles in Shetland' (John T. Reid, 1869)
'County Folk-Lore' vol. 3, Printed Extracts No. 5, 'Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the Orkney & Shetland Islands' (collected by G. F. Black, edited by Northcote W. Thomas, The Folk-Lore Society, 1903) pp. 253-257. Quotes Chambers' and Reid's versions.

Recording Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Sandsting

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village/Place - Reawick

Item Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Sandsting

Island - Shetland Mainland


English, Scots





Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality