Introduction / The Island / Island Life / Social Activities
Christmas and New Year
There was a Christmas party for the children at the school. Annie Rousay, who was a teacher in the 1930s, spoke of there being no lessons that day. There would be decorations made and hung up around the classroom. The children came to the school at 11.00am and played games. They had sweets and fruit and were taken to the kitchen when it was time for lunch. They’d have sandwiches and lemonade followed by plum pudding and cake.
The adults and younger children would arrive in the afternoon and the school children would present their entertainment of songs, games and recitations. At the end, there would be a loud knock from the kitchen and Santa would come in with his bag of presents. There might then be a presentation to the teacher.
On one occasion Annie Rousay and Mary Rendall o’ Hammar went over to Eday and asked Jeemo Stevenson from Carrick, if they could have a Christmas tree from the plantation there as the children had never seen one. He came with a big one and they carried it over the hill to Guithe and got it on the post boat to Pharay. The children helped the next day to “plant” it in a big zinc bucket and put on the decorations, which they had made. They were quite delighted.
Life was not that easy, especially if there was a large family and a number of islanders mention that when they were bairns a Christmas present would consist of “half an apple and a caramel”.
It used to be the custom in the early part of last century for the people from the Ness, the house at the south end of the island, to go along to the Reids at Holland. They would then all go to the Drevers at Windywa where they would be entertained. The whole party would then continue north taking in the Groats at Lakequoy, the Rendalls at Hammar, the Harcuses of Doggerboat and Cott until they finished up at the Seatters at Quoy in the north end where a dance might be had. The process was repeated at the New Year but starting at Quoy and moving down the island to the Ness. Home brew might well be consumed.