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  Orcadian Customs and Traditions

Scribe: Illustration by Sigurd TowrieLife in the Orkney islands is, and always has been, steeped in tradition.

These days, some of these customs remain strong while others have become mere shadows of their former selves - if not forgotten altogether.

As with our folklore, the islands' various traditions revolved around the realities and demands of island life - the elements, work, the cyclical pattern of the seasons and the inevitable cycle of life - birth, marriage and death.

As is always the case, these traditions are dying out rapidly as the old folk, the last guardians, slip away, one by one taking the unwritten wealth with them to the grave.

Annual Festivities Misc
A Calendar of Orcadian Tradition Eynhallow
Yule in the Northern Isles Kelp Burning in Orkney
The Kirkwall Ba' The Battle Poem of the Valkyries
Harvest Lore and Customs Orkney and the Arthurian Legends
Orkney Bonfire Customs The Everlasting Battle
Gyro Night - The Night of the Ogress Odin in Orkney Tradition
The Festival of the Horse The "resting places" of St Magnus's body
  The Westray Dons and the Spanish Armada
Language and Custom The Stages of Life
Orcadian Dialect Customs of Pregnancy and Childbirth
Orkney Placenames Divining a Future Husband
The District teu-names of Orkney Orkney Wedding Customs
The Orkney Norn The Bride's Cog
  Rituals of Death and Burial
Charms and Healing
The Charm of the "Wreestin' Threed'
Sacred Waters and Healing Wells
Dian-stanes - Thunderstones and other Protective Charms
See Also
Orkney Folklore

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