Christmas, New Year and Up Helly Aa dances, and other social...
Contributors
Date 19 September 1974
Track ID 72930
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Track Information

Original Track ID

SA1974.197.A2

Original Tape ID

SA1974.197

Summary

Christmas, New Year and Up Helly Aa dances, and other social gatherings.

Shetlanders celebrated Old Yule and Old Newerday [New Year's Day], which was on 12 January. Up Helly Aa was 24 days after Yule, and was more usually known as Four and Twenty Day. At Yule, people went round the houses with their bottles and had fun and dancing. At Newerday, a couple went round and collected half a crown from each man to pay for whisky and food, which were taken to one house, where the people gathered at six in the evening and stayed till six or seven in the morning. On Four and Twenty Night the women paid for a similar event. All the supplies had to come by boat from Swinister.

Four and Twenty was the last of the three dances of the season. The whole valley would gather in one house, not necessarily the same one every time. Smaller-scale dancing and playing went on every night through the winter. With no roads and nowhere to go, people had to make their own entertainment. There was always someone who could play the fiddle or melodeon. Dances were also held after the women had a carding or spinning night; these only lasted a couple of hours.

Item Notes

Old Yule was the date of Christmas in 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 - Delting

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village - Collafirth

Item Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Delting

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village - Collafirth

Language

English

Genre

Information

Collection

SoSS