Guising at Old Christmas and New Year.

Date 07 October 1974
Track ID 48475
Part 1

Track Information

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Guising at Old Christmas and New Year.

Guisers dressed up and went visiting at Old Christmas and New Year. Hugh Jamieson recalls when the guisers gathered and prepared at a certain house in Mossbank. They visited houses in Swinister, Firth and Toft. There might have been 20 or 25 in the crowd and they visited every house. Old people would simply be wished a Happy Christmas while in other houses there would be music and dancing. At Holla in Firth, enough supper was prepared for all the guisers. They'd dance Shetland and Scotch reels on the small floors of old croft houses.

The guisers dressed in home-made outfits with false faces [masks] bought from the shop. The men dressed as women and the women as men. They would dress in wigs and wide skirts, with whiskers made from sheepskins. When the public halls were built, guising took place there. Latterly they travelled by car, but in the old days not everyone could afford even a bicycle.

Item Notes

Old Christmas and Old New Year were the dates according to the Julian calendar, which continued to be used for traditional festivals long after it was replaced by the Gregorian calendar in the middle of the 18th century.

Recording Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Tingwall

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village/Place - Gott

Item Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Delting

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village/Place - Mossbank


English, Scots





Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality