Saturday, 14 December 2013

Advent Book Quiz Day 14

Day fourteen of our festive quiz

Another Orkney non-fiction title and author for you today, with an extract about an old Yule tradition here in Stromness. 

If you know the author and title submit your answer as a comment below. Comments will be published and the answers, and winner, announced on 3rd January. You have until 1st January to enter, so plenty of time to identify any extracts you've missed so far.

A yearly tug-of-war, with the ultimate possession of a Yule tree as its object, took place in Stromness (O) each Christmas Eve until 1936. A tree of some kind - for trees are scarce in the islands - was taken from a garden without the owner's knowledge and carried to the middle of the town. Chains or ropes were attached to it and a trial of strength began. The old town of Stromness, like Kirkwall, consists of a narrow winding street, but there was a point of delimitation between Northenders and Southenders, and their ancient rivalry found expression in an attempt to drag the tree to a traditional goal well within the territory of the faction which proved most powerful. The contest was a robust, often a turbulent one. As the route was skirted by the sea, the tree invariably ended its journey in the water, followed now and then by an over-zealous player. 

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