This Labor Day Weekend, what a perfect day it was to go down to the Virginia Scottish Games and Festival, a yearly gathering that takes place in September. This year, September 4 and 5, Saturday and Sunday, the games were played on Big Meadow, The Plains, Virgina, near Manasses, VA, not far from I-66. The weather was as perfect as the company. You’ll clearly see in the photographs that a great time was had by all.
We need some bagpipes, Highland Dancing and caber tossing to set the tone. This video is from the 2009 Virginia Scottish Games and is representative of what takes place. Click play when ready.
Now, here are photographs from this year, September, 2010:
Scots take the wearing of the kilt and the playing of the bagpipes very seriously.
Highland Dancing was originally done by Scottish warriors.
Sheaf Tossing involves lifting a heavy sheaf of grain up and over a raised bar.
Border Collies “make suggestions” as to where the sheep should go next.
All of the Clans had displays with their Clan Tartans and Clan Crests.
THE KILTED NATION, TKN, from Alexandria, VA was busy for good reason.
Scottish Country Dancing exhibition by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
There was traditional Scottish music playing in several different venues.
Cabers were turned in warfare to break up the flanks of advancing armies.
Scottish Highland games are both an athletic competition and a celebration of Scottish culture. The games are the modern embodiment of the war games and contests that were held in ancient Scotland in a warrior based society. It is said Highland Games are at least as old as the ancient Olympic Games of Greece and more information about the practice can be found here in this link.
Wikipedia has a great listing of all of the Highland Games all over the United States at this link.
The people who attend and enjoy these events are not necessarily Scottish in descent. The Scottish culture is very inclusive, in other words, all people with an interest in enjoying the Highland Games and Festivals are welcomed. In fact, Scottish Country Dancing has a big following in Japan. Here you can see a Japanese bagpipe group playing in Tokyo by clicking on play.
Scottish Country Dancing is also popular all over the world. Here a exhibition performance video that nicely shows the elegant patterns and turns of a Strathspey:
If you are interested in joining a Scottish Country Dancing group, don’t be shy! You’ll have a good time, meet nice people and get some pleasant exercise at the same time. Go here for more information about the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.