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Watch it, you! Coming on here with your commonsensical words. Pfft!

Of course not. Just another attempt to stir up discord where none exists.  As part of its role in managing the many aspects of the festival, the Committee routinely keeps the squads informed of proce

We don’t recognise sectarianism up here, let’s leave it that way. Up here we thinks it’s only a game of football.

There seem to be two main schools of thought on the origins of te fire festivals which have given birth to UHA.

 

The first is that the old was being burnt and done away with so that the new would come forth and bring life back to the world after winter (yes, like in Pratchett's Hogfather. Where do you think he got some of his ideas from?). This involved lighting big fires at the darkest part of winter and keeping a fire burning continuously between certain dates at the height (or depth) of winter - the origin of the Yule log. It also involved blood sacrifice and an appeasement of earth and spirits. The veil betweeen this world and the next grew thin at such times and spirits could come through. Folk wore masks to cover their identities so that their souls/spirits could not be torn from their bodies by these dispossessed and angry spirits.

 

The other is that the guizers wore masks/costumes representing the old gods of the earth, the field and forest. In doing so, they called the spirits of these gods into themselves and gave them offerings of finest food and drink. They would then eat and drink at every person's home, blessing their hearth in crossing it to gain their offering. Some stories even say it goes further back than that, and they represent the Wild Hunt, making them offerings so that they would not take souls that night. The fire was still there, of course, and represented light out of darkness, driving away the evil that lurked there. Molly Hunter's "A stranger came ashore" was inspired by this concept or belief.

 

It's all too lost in the past to say where it takes it's real roots from and to be honest, who really cares. It is a grand tradition and brings a community together like few others can, in my humble and non-Shetlander opinion. It is an night of awe and wonder and for telling tales of days long past to children and your children's children. And I shall be doing so myself this year, spinning yarns of Celtic and Norse mythology for my grandchildren and - hopefully - filling their hearts and heads with wonder before they watch the torchlight procession and burning of the longboat. We all need a little magic in our lives and children more than most in this world which we shall one day bequeath to them, sadder, darker and more dangerous than when we came into it. Be grateful for what you have here, for whether the roots are artificial or not, it can be a night of wonders if only you let it. :wink:

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It is an night of awe and wonder and for telling tales of days long past to children and your children's children. And I shall be doing so myself this year, spinning yarns of Celtic and Norse mythology for my grandchildren and - hopefully - filling their hearts and heads with wonder before they watch the torchlight procession and burning of the longboat. We all need a little magic in our lives and children more than most in this world which we shall one day bequeath to them, sadder, darker and more dangerous than when we came into it. Be grateful for what you have here, for whether the roots are artificial or not, it can be a night of wonders if only you let it. :wink:

 

Whilst I agree with most of what you've said there, this I certainly do not. UHA is NOT about this - it's about getting drunk and acting out silly acts. Fair enough, but don't dress it up as something it's not. Your idea actually sounds good. I would go if it was like that. I doubt 90% of the UHA procession knows anything about Norse/Celtic mythology. Hence, why it's become about dressing up as women etc. The procession is fine an' all, but why bother having squads? Why can't everyone get dressed up as Vikings, kinda like a St. Patricks day - everybody is Oi-Rish for the day. I certainly don't need to be in a squad for that and I normally have a great time! UHA has it's committee and it's rules, why not just make it a free for all with events everywhere that anybody can go to?

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I do beg your pardon, Mario, what I was trying to put over was how it appears to the bairns and to those of still trying to be young at heart. Feel free to treat it as a night to get blootered all you want. Not everyone does though, and I wouldn't want the bairns to (although sadly, some will anyway).

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I do beg your pardon, Mario, what I was trying to put over was how it appears to the bairns and to those of still trying to be young at heart. Feel free to treat it as a night to get blootered all you want. Not everyone does though, and I wouldn't want the bairns to (although sadly, some will anyway).

 

Bairns enjoy the procession, but the halls are not inclusive, and are definately about getting blootered.

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I do beg your pardon, Mario, what I was trying to put over was how it appears to the bairns and to those of still trying to be young at heart. Feel free to treat it as a night to get blootered all you want. Not everyone does though, and I wouldn't want the bairns to (although sadly, some will anyway).

 

Bairns enjoy the procession, but the halls are not inclusive, and are definately about getting blootered.

 

The halls are open after the watershed.

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I've been out in a squad since the 80's and I have never known a member of the squad being what you describe as blootered. OK, we have a dram and enjoy ourselves, but we all make every hall, do our act and try to find someone to dance with.

 

You hear all this talk of serious amounts of drunkeness, but has anyone ever seen any one unable to complete the procession or fall over etc. etc. due to alcohol ?

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I've seen guizers unconscious with drink after the first hall, i've seen fidlebox carriers chucking their guts up with drink and i've seen squad members turn agressive and near violent with drink. A minority though. It is drink fielled to a certain extent, but those who overindulge are kept in check by the fatc that there is an act to perform.

 

I would have said that a huge part of it is the social aspect, rituals aside. It is a great night for meeting old friends and new ones, dancing and hilarity at the acts. Its am-dram at it's finest in some respects (more so in the country festivals though).

 

I take issue at the comparison with St Patricks day. Now that is a 'festival' that really has got out of hand and is a pointless, debauched, free-for-all to which half the western world now subscribes out of pure hedonism. :wink:

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I've been out in a squad since the 80's and I have never known a member of the squad being what you describe as blootered. OK, we have a dram and enjoy ourselves, but we all make every hall, do our act and try to find someone to dance with.

 

You hear all this talk of serious amounts of drunkeness, but has anyone ever seen any one unable to complete the procession or fall over etc. etc. due to alcohol ?

 

I wouldn't know whether anyone has been unable to complete the procession - that's very early on. But fall over - YES. Be unable to dance having taken you up - YES. Which squad do you go out with :?: I'll look forward to it :!:

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I wouldn't know whether anyone has been unable to complete the procession - that's very early on. But fall over - YES. Be unable to dance having taken you up - YES. Which squad do you go out with :?: I'll look forward to it :!:

 

I must admit there have been a few girls in the halls who have been unable to dance when 'taken' up, not due to drunkeness though.

 

I am in the squad with a full compliment, a good act, and all sober enough to dance.

 

Which hall are you in ? :wink:

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