Fairies were at their most powerful around Christmas; a vers...
Date 21 September 1970
Track ID 66611
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Fairies were at their most powerful around Christmas; a verse about keeping Tammasmas.

Fairies were thought to come at Yule [Christmas] and people would dismantle their spinning-wheels and put them in an outhouse before the Helly Nichts o Yule [holidays before and around Christmas] when the fairies would overwhelm the house. The Helly Nichts of Yule were Maunsemas Een and Maunsemas Night, Tammasmas Een and Tammasmas night, Tulya's Een and Tulya's Night, Yule Een and Yule Night. The first six of these dates were said to be when the fairies were most active. Women about to give birth at Yule were supposed to hear the following warning:

The babe ida midders belly, may greatly mant [stutter] and duil [mourn]
For da brakin o St Tammasmas Night, three nights afore Yule.

The fairies were said to cause the breaking, just as they were responsible for upsetting everything else around that time. The fairies would spulyie [spoil] knitwear and spinning-wheels if they were not dismantled and stored.

Recording Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Yell

Island - Yell

Village - Arisdale

Item Location

County - Shetland