Harvest celebrations in Orkney: the muckle supper replaced b...

Date 25 June 1969
Track ID 64275
Part 1

Track Information

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Harvest celebrations in Orkney: the muckle supper replaced by harvest home.

When the harvest was in, a jollification called the muckle [big] supper was held in the farmhouse and barn. Everyone involved in the harvest was invited to the dance. There was fiddle music and plenty of home brew, meat and chicken. The food was served in the house and the barn dance went on till four in the morning. All farms, big or small, tried to give their workers a muckle supper. Ethel Findlater's small farm at Breckan had no helpers but nearby Howan held a muckle supper.

Harvest helpers were usually just the neighbours. The jollification took place before Christmas. Once community halls were built the muckle suppers ended, which spoiled all the fun. At first, people would take sheaves and cross them on the hall walls for decoration, and other produce was taken to make the thing like a muckle supper, but eventually they stopped bothering with the sheaves. Every parish still has its own celebrations, now called 'harvest home' and the one held in Kirkwall is called 'the county harvest home'.

Item Notes

The muckle supper would not necessarily be held immediately after the harvest, as the barn would not be free until the grain had been threshed.

Item Location

County - Orkney

Parish - Birsay

Island - Orkney Mainland

Village/Place - Breckan


English, Scots





Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality