The Global Saint: St Andrew’s Day Celebrations around the World

StAD‘No saint in the calendar’, observed a reporter in the Hong Kong Daily Press in 1886, ‘receives the hearty and regular devotion paid to St Andrew by his flock in all parts of the world.’ And indeed, next to Burns Night, St Andrew’s Day has long since been the key holiday in the annual events calendar of the Scots overseas, offering an opportunity for them to gather and celebrate their Scottish heritage – a tradition that continues to this day. But let’s look at some of the events that have taken place since the mid-nineteenth century, when St Andrew’s Day celebrations began to proliferate globally.

In New York, in 1890, ‘the music of the bagpipes and the pungent aroma of the haggis’ filled the banquet room of the famous …

Out now: The Scottish Diaspora

The Scottish Diaspora (Edinburgh, 2013, with Andrew Hinson and Graeme Morton).

Did you know that Scotland was one of Europe’s main population exporters in the age of mass migration? Or that the Scottish Honours System was introduced as far afield as New Zealand? This comprehensive introductory history of the Scottish diaspora covers the period c.1700 to 1945 and examines these and related issues by exploring the migration of Scots overseas, their experiences in the new worlds in which they settled and the impact of the diaspora on Scotland. Global in scope, the book’s distinctive feature is its focus on both the geographies of the Scottish diaspora and key theories, concepts and themes, including associationalism and return migration. By revisiting these themes throughout the chapters, the multifaceted characteristics of ‘Scottishness’ …

Celebrating Robert Fergusson: A New Zealand Connection

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 16.29.05Scottish poet Robert Fergusson died on 16 October 1774. At times described as the lesser brother of Robert Burns, Fergusson too left his mark in the Scottish diaspora. Let’s look at the story of New Zealand Burns enthusiast James Craigie in a bit more detail to see what role Fergusson played for him.

Born at Coupar Angus, Perthshire, in 1851, Craigie arrived in New Zealand at the age of fifteen together with his parents. He was an apprentice to a painter in Dunedin, later setting up a small business in Timaru in 1873 as importer and general decorator; he also owned a farm at Kingsdown, situated 6 miles to the south of Timaru. Perhaps it was his Scottish upbringing that fostered in Craigie a strong civic spirit. He was involved …

Sir Walter Scott: A Writer with Global Appeal

ScottWhen novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott died at his home, Abbotsford House near Melrose, in late September 1832, the press in Scotland was full of praise for, as the Caledonian Mercury put it, ‘this illustrious writer’ and ‘great luminary of letters’. Though not normally described as Scotland’s national bard – this being a title usually reserved for Robert Burns – Scott was immensely popular. Best known for his novels, including Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley and The Heart of Midlothian, Scott’s popularity, as the Mercury’s obituary went on to stress, rested on him having ‘boldly struck into a new path … evoking all that was most grand, gorgeous, and romantic in the past history or traditions of a land singularly rich …