Customs and Folklore

The customs and folklore zone is marked out by a circle of Shetland dialect words. Visitors can try to guess what they mean while listening to the folklore stories in the traditional chairs – one of which will explain the meaning of each of the words.

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

Themes here 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.