Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 November 2020



(p.95) 9 Misrule
The Stations of the Sun

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

From one end of nineteenth-century Britain to another there were districts in which young people, and sometimes adults, used fancy dress as a means both to personal enjoyment and to profit. In the Shetland Isles, the ‘skeklers’ or ‘gulicks’ were abroad during the evenings of the Twelve Days; youths dressed in straw costumes with conical hats, handkerchiefs covering their faces. Once admitted to a home, the skeklers would dance and be rewarded with refreshments and a little money. Festival disguise may in places have been an expression of merry-making, but was generally, by the nineteenth century, another part of the considerable number of ritualized means of making money or earning hospitality at midwinter. That this was always so is suggested by the number of payments to ‘mummers’ in early modern household accounts. Into the same pattern fits one of the most curious, and celebrated, of Christmastide ‘ritual reversals’: the hunting, killing, and display of wrens.

Keywords:   Britain, Shetland, skeklers, Twelve Days, festival, disguise, merry-making, mummers, Christmastide, wrens

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .