Category Archives: 2015

A Bit of Scotland Coming to NYC

tartan-parade

 

Until I saw this article in an online Scottish newspaper, I had never heard of Tartan Week in NYC.  This year, we’ll be going for part of it anyway!

http://www.scotland.org/whats-on/scotland-week/tartan-day-parade/

Tartan Day Parade 2016

The annual Tartan Day Parade takes place on 6th Avenue on April 9 and is the stalwart of the Scotland Week calendar.

Led by a Grand Marshal, the parade will bring together pipers and drummers from all over the world in a celebration of the contribution made to the USA by the Scots. Past marshals have include Sir Sean Connery, Scots-born actors Brian Cox, Kevin McKidd and Alan Cumming and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. This year’s Grand Marshal is Outlander star Sam Heughan.

Tartan Day has been celebrated since 1998. Over the years it has been expanded into a week-long programme of events promoting Scotland in North America.

The official parade tartan has been designed by the Scottish Tartans Authority, funded by the Scottish Registers of Tartan and its registration donated by the National Records of Scotland. Its colours and pattern represent aspects of Scottish and American culture such as the blue and white of the Saltire and the green of the trees bordering 6th Avenue where the parade takes place.

 

From http://nyctartanweek.org/the-origins-of-new-yorks-tartan-day/

The Origins of New York’s Tartan Day Parade

In 1999, the first Tartan Day Parade, consisting of two pipe bands and a small but spirited group of Scottish Americans, including Grand Marshall Cliff Robertson, walked from the British Consulate to the United Nations. Since then it has flourished to include many bands and thousands of participants.

In 2002, the Parade was brought to Sixth Avenue for the first time. This Parade attracted a record number of pipe bands from all over the world and was led by Sir Sean Connery and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The National Tartan Day New York Committee was founded by three New York-based Scottish-American organizations: the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, founded in 1756; the New York Caledonian Club, 1856; and the American-Scottish Foundation®, 1956. Since 2002, the Committee has grown to include Clan Campbell. The NTDNYC, which has non-profit 501(c)(3) status, is charged with maintaining and perpetuating the New York Tartan Day Parade and coordinating the events that complement it.

Poor DH may be “pipered out”, if that’s at all possible, since we went to the Edinburgh Tattoo last summer, we’ll be going again this August and we’ll be going to the Virginia International Tattoo two weeks after the Tartan Day Parade. As far as I’m concerned, there can never be too many bagpipes 🙂

It’s funny how I found the Virginia Tattoo.  I’d never heard of them, even though we live in Virginia.  When I was writing up the blog posts for last summer’s Edinburgh Tattoo, I looked up info about the Top Secret Drum Corps which I’d loved.  Turns out, they’re going to be at the Virginia version this year – so we’re going, too!

 

The Parade starts at 2.00pm at West 45th Street and marches up 6th Avenue to 55th Street.

Once again, we’ll be using Airbnb since it worked out so well for us last time we went to NYC.  We have arranged to use Airbnbs for our next 2 trips, too.


Just throwing in this video because I love it, it has piano – and pipers!  This took place in the fantastic Eilean Donan Castle.

From the wonderful Piano Guys, This is Your Fight Song.  I have seen this countless times and I am always so moved for the beauty of the Highlands countryside, the piano, cello, bagpipes, drums, the intertwining of Amazing Grace and Scotland The Brave with the original Fight Song.

 

They wrote in the notes:

When we first heard Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” we were inspired by its message. In a world where we too often talk about our differences, we have at least one thing in common. We all struggle. Not in the same way, nor at the same level, but we all want a fighting chance. And we all share in one gift: The will to make the most of our lives. To take what we’ve been given and turn it into something better could be considered the sentient measuring stick of success. But to do so seldom is simple and more often requires we fight. Not against each other. But against the current threatening to drown the ambition in us.

There is tremendous purpose in struggle. It is when the struggle becomes so fierce that we must fight to swim or sink. John Newton, who penned “Amazing Grace,” worked on a slave trader ship and condoned inhuman atrocities. As his ship was on the verge of being torn apart in a violent storm he called out for Grace. Once his feet were again planted on firm soil he determined to change. His covenant was written into these words,

“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”

Grace is the defining moment when we face and fight a monster poised to define us or destroy us.

This song and video for us was a struggle, but a beautifully defining one. We chose the Scottish culture to depict the dichotomy between Grace and struggle. Who else is tough enough and yet delicate enough to don a kilt in battle? And the Scottish pipe and drum are the ultimate conveyors of melody and cadence. One represents Grace, the other the indomitable fight. Our dream was to film one of the most iconic castles on the Earth, Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, Scotland.

Grace somehow made this video possible. We had to postpone our trip to Scotland several times, and when we could no longer postpone we had to leap in faith because just before we left everything had fallen through. It wasn’t until we were in the moment and had to let go of our pride and anxiety when everything Gracefully came together.

We recognize that this video is far less important than a fight for one’s life. We hope this music will serve as an anthem for those that are in the fight of their lives. We have people close to us who inspire us every day with their grace in the face of such a struggle. This video is dedicated to them: The superheroes in our lives that don’t wear capes, but wear a smile under villainous pressure — those that have been through so many defining moments that they are intimately acquainted with Grace and know it to be close cousins with hope. We pray “Grace will bring them safely through.”

 

Love you, Grandpa!

Love you, Grandpa!

Scotland Notes

Beinn: is the most common Gaelic word for “mountain”

Coffee americano: (black coffee with 2 shots of espresso)

Chips: French Fries

Dinnae: Don’t.  My grandmother and people in the church where I grew up said this all the time.  “A dinnae ken” which means “I don’t know”.

Haggis: Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach though now often in an artificial casing instead. According to the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique: “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour”.

We have my grandmother’s old cookbook with recipes for haggis, lights, sweetbreads (don’t ask), blood pudding… I never could have made it in the olden days!

We also saw haggis pizza, haggis flavored chips, frozen haggis…  We tried none of that.

I was going to put a picture but I couldn’t stomach it (NO pun intended!)

Loch en Eilein:  Simply – loch means lake.  Eilein means island.  So, there’s an island in the lake 🙂

Place suffixes:

-more:

-ness:  a promontory or headland.  Loch Ness is a lake with a promontory

-shire: Roughly “county of”  Inverness-shire; Perthshire

-strath: a wide river valley, a stretch of relatively flat, fertile land bounded by hills.  Strathspey is the River Spey and the valley around it.

 

Interesting place names:

  • Crook of Devon:  The name derives from the sudden angle (crook) which the River Devon makes near the village. A village within the parish of Fossoway in Perthshire. It is located about 6 miles southwest of Kinross on the A977 road. Until relatively recently the official name of the village was Fossoway (as evidenced on the war memorial etc.) but this has been usurped by the widely used nickname “crook of devon”.
  • Drumnadrochit: It derives from the Scottish Gaelic ‘druim na drochaid’ meaning the ‘Ridge of the Bridge’.
  • Firth of Forth: (Scottish Gaelic: Linne Foirthe) is the estuary or firth of Scotland’s River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north and Lothian to the south. It was known as Bodotria in Roman times.
  • Inverfarigaig: (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Farragaig) is a hamlet at the mouth of the River Farigaig, on the south-east shore of Loch Ness in Inverness-shire, Scottish Highlands and is in the Scottish council area of Highland.
  • Kingdom of Fife: (Scottish Gaelic: Fìobha) is a council area and historic county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire. By custom it is widely held to have been one of the major Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, and is still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife within Scotland.
  • Killiecrankie.  I have no idea how it got this name.  It sounds sort of like you want to kill the crank but that can’t be right.
    Killiecrankie (Gaelic: Coille Chreithnich) is a village in Perth and Kinross, Scotland on the River Garry.
  • Loch Faskally: (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Faschoille is a man-made reservoir in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) northwest of Pitlochry.

Playlist of all my Scotland videos plus others of interest:

 

 

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