My Top 5 Festive Traditions

by Helen Smith -

There's no escaping that Shetlanders like dressing up and having fun and there's a long tradition of guizing in Shetland. At Christmas time children used to wear a skekklers costume made of straw, visit nearby houses and sing and dance. In some places of Shetland the tradition of guizing still goes on today, although the costumes are more modern and comfortable now - so don't be surprised if you see folk in fancy dress! I love it so much it made it into my Top 5 festive traditions!

1. Double Celebrations! Some people on Foula (16 miles West of the Shetland mainland) still celebrate "old" Christmas and New Year on the 5th and 12th January.

2. Reestit mutton tattie soup. It's made from mutton that's been soaked in brine and air dried - it's unique, and some people find it an acquired taste. Everyone has their own special way of making it but I found Martin Wishart's recipe online. Let me know what you think of it.

3. Guizing - bairns dress up and go round the houses on Christmas Eve, adults do the rounds on New Year's Day. We also go round the houses on Hogmany but tend to go in ordinary clothes!

4. New Year's walk (I love it if I spot a winter hare). Check out Walk Shetland for some really great routes.

5. Planning my summer holiday - to find more inspiration for your summer holiday to Shetland have a look at all the ideas on the Promote Shetland website.

There's so many things I love about Christmas and New Year in Shetland. I should've had a Top 10 so I could mention board games (have you played the Up Helly Aa game?), knitting (Shetland wool is the best!) and preparing for next month's Up Helly Aa!

What traditions do you like?

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