The Orkney Ba Game held in the streets each Christmas day in Kirkwall Mainland Orkney. SCO 5833
Contributor:David Gowans / Alamy Stock Photo
File size:60 MB (3.3 MB Compressed download)
Releases:Model - no | Property - noDo I need a release?
Dimensions:5620 x 3733 px | 47.6 x 31.6 cm | 18.7 x 12.4 inches | 300dpi
Date taken:24 December 2009
Location:St Magnus Cathedral Kirkwall Mainland Orkney Highland Region Scotland.
Every Christmas Eve and Hogmanay, householders and shopkeepers along Kirkwall's winding central streets can be seen barricading doors and windows in preparation for the following days' ba' games. The Kirkwall Ba' is a mass-football game played out in the streets of the town every Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The game pits two rival "factions" against each other in a battle to secure a goal and win the game. The men and boys of Kirkwall are designated either "Uppies" or "Doonies", or "Up the Gates" and "Doon the Gates". This is thought to be a corruption of the Old Norse gata, meaning road. Whether you were an Uppie or a Doonie originally depended upon the individual's place of birth. Those born to the north of the Cathedral were a Doonies, with Uppies being those born to the south. The annual Ba' games were an ideal opportunity to resurrect the age old rivalry between the men of the Laverock (Uppies) and the men of the Burgh (Doonies). This refers to a time when Kirkwall was divided into two areas, the south - known as the Laverock - controlled by the Bishop, the north (the Burgh) by the King's Earl.