Every summer, everyone from Vancouver to the Rock look forward to different incidents of the Highland Games as Canadians really love to celebrate in this way. Bagpipes moan, cabers fly, and many a pint and dram are raised. Durham is one of those regions that hosts an event with gusto and pride.
Across fields and in church greens, strong men appear in their kilts and the women swoon as they watch them engaging in such amazing feats of strength amid the songs of the highlands. The region is teaming with folks from the clans and the games draw folks of all ages to participate in the revelry of the festivities. They wear the tartans that represent the heritage of their families and bear their crests with honor and pride.
The games while started across the pond continue to be a great Canadian event as well. Participation has engaged generations over hundreds of years and families look forward to not only attending but also in meeting rivals that have existed over many years, although they’re all regarded in the friendliest way.
The pomp and circumstance is all a part of the event and these can be traced back to ancient traditions. The tradition of the kilt and the never-ending question of what lies beneath is all a part of the event and more tartan can be seen in the greens of Fergus or Durham or Caledonia can be seen during the annual celebrations than one might see in all of Scotland aside from events of a similar nature.
Families enjoy having monikers that don’t fall into the common territory like McLeods or MacPhees but everyone can always spot the tartans of the larger clans when they show up at the events. Not everyone wears a kilt – for some it’s simply a tie or a scarf or tartan tam, but the plaids abound.
It’s not just about what you wear – it’s also a matter of what is done while you’re there. There are, of course, the many feats of strength that are known as a part of Highland Games. The tug of war, the caber toss, the shot putting and others are all ways that men can show their prowess and while it’s all fun and games today, in its heyday, it was a manner of proving one’s ability to sufficiently survive in day to day life.
The games are not just for humans either – the games are always filled with the animals that took part in the toils of Scottish life. The sheep dogs, the sheep and the horses are all a part of the games proving that they have the talents to serve their masters.
Participants have a wonderful time but so those who come out solely to listen to the music, enjoy the fare or have a taste of the finest whiskey. There are beer tents, food stations, fairs for the kids and music is everywhere. Drums, bagpipes, and marching bands set the tone for a rousing good time and events usually start early in the day and extend far past sunset. Events are scheduled all through the summer and if you have not ever attended the Highland Games, check your community calendar to find the one nearest to you and get out and enjoy!