• A mother sits in one of the Listening Chairs as her children play in the Trowie knowe, home to Shetlands "little people".
  • Skeklin was a medieval custom where mystery figures visited houses in winter dressed in this strange straw costume.
  • A Brigdi, a mythological creature of the sea, shown on a wall which demonstrates Shetlands diverse mythology.

Customs and Folklore

The Customs and Folklore zone is marked out by a circle of Shetland dialect words.  Try to guess what they mean while listening to the folklore stories in the traditional chairs – one of which will tell you the meaning of each of the words.

Although Shetlanders had many folk customs and beliefs, there were not many objects linked to these.  Therefore, we have used several reconstructed items and artists’ impressions to tell this part of the story.  This includes a trowie knowe, an example of where Shetland’s little people live - enter at your peril!

Themes include: Traditional customs and superstition concerning births, marriages and deaths, witchcraft, the supernatural and language.

Highlights include:

  • A skekklers costume – a festival outfit worn by children in the winter.
  • Sickles – everyday tools that had an extra use to ward off witches.
  • A gju – a two-stringed instrument which was played before fiddles were introduced to the isles.

 


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