The growth of Highland Games in North America

Screen-Shot-2015-05-06-at-08.30.37The most visible change in Scottish associational activities in North America was the proliferation of Caledonian Games from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. And it was Caledonian societies and clubs who were chiefly responsible for their organization, triggered by the general popularization of Scottish sports. The seminal study of the emergence and evolution of Highland Games comes from Grant Jarvie, who has traced the Games’ folk origins and their proliferation during the Victorian era—a result too of growing royal patronage—through to the modern Games of the twentieth century. With the first Games in Scotland having taken place at St Fillans in 1819, it is interesting to see references to events in Canada also in that year, when the Highland Society in Glengarry, Ontario hosted activities. While it is contested whether the …

Tartan Day Parade in New York

IMG_5308It was my privilege to walk with the American-Scottish Foundation on this year’s Tartan Day parade – the 16th annual parade in New York. It was a truly brilliant experience and I met many interesting people. Being able to walk down 6th Avenue, with spectators waving the Saltire all round was simply brilliant. A big thank you to the Foundation and the people I met during the day!

Public displays of Scottishness in New York, featuring kilted pipers, tartan trews and the Saltire waving in the breeze, are, however, by no means a late twentieth-century invention. One of the earliest celebrations that saw a large assemblage of Scots parading through central New York was that of the Scott Centenary in 1871. Among the other events pursued during the day of …

Scottish Parades in New York

Last Saturday saw New York’s annual Tartan Day parade make its way along 6th Avenue. The unrivalled culmination of a week of Scottish celebrations in the Big Apple, Tartan Day has now been celebrated for over two decades and attracts many a visitor to the streets of central Manhattan. With similar events held throughout North America, Scottish expats and the descendants of Scottish migrants who arrived many years ago have established a new tradition to celebrate their Scottish heritage in the Diaspora.

Such public displays of Scottishness in New York, featuring kilted pipers, tartan trews and the Saltire waving in the breeze, are, however, by no means a late twentieth-century invention. One of the earliest celebrations that saw a large assemblage of Scots parading through central New York was …