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The Highland Games

Highland Game season is upon us and you probably don’t have to drive far to find one near you. According to Scotland.org “Highland Games have been picked up across continents

The Scottish Flag, also known as St. Andrew's Cross or the Saltire

The Scottish Flag, also known as St. Andrew’s Cross or the Saltire

with the first Highland Games in the USA happening in New York in 1836. The Caledonian Club of San Francisco held its first Games in 1866 and boasts the oldest continuously running Games in the USA with the St Andrews Society of Detroit hot on its tail. Today, in addition to the Games all across Scotland itself, there are more than 200 annual games and gatherings across the US and Canada, with games also in New Zealand and Australia.”

The origins of the Highland Games are a little murky. Some historians believe that the games origins can be traced back to Ireland circa 2000 BC and were brought to Scotland with the 4th century migrations of the Scoti.  According to scotsman.com  “The first historical reference to Highland Games-type events in Scotland was made during the reign of King Malcolm III (1057-1093) when he summoned men to race up Craig Choinnich near Braemar in order to find a royal messenger.”

From Scotland.org “Over time the Games grew in number and popularity but suffered a mortal blow with the Act of Proscription in 1746 following the crushing of the Jacobite Rebellion. The act outlawed Scottish dress, customs and gatherings and was in force for almost 40 years.” The Highland Games quickly rebounded after the repeal and as Scots started emigrating, they took the games and traditions from home with them as part of their cultural identity.

The Caber Toss

The Caber Toss

No matter what Highland Games you attend, you are likely to find the standard tests of strength, such as the caber toss, stone put, tug of war, and hammer throw, as well as herding dog demonstrations, sword fighting, Highland dance competitions, pipe and drum bands, Scottish delicacies like haggis and deep fried Mars Bars and of course, kilts!

Deep fried Mars Bars

Deep fried Mars Bars

 

 

The Celtic Ranch didn’t want to miss out on the fun this summer, so we’re packing up and heading to the Kansas City Highland Games on June 11th and 12th. Come find us with our friends, Kiltman Kilts and say hello! We’re bringing whiskey!

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Memorial Day Origins

download (1)In the United States, Memorial Day has become a day to remember those that have passed away. Many of us visit cemeteries and leave flowers for our departed loved ones, but Memorial Day’s origins have become a bit obscured.

“Originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of download (7)decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers.” –PBS.org

In the midst of the First World War, our nation was grieving the losses of so many men. “In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,MoinaMichaelStamp-300x196
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”

-usmemorialday.org

Moina Michael started the American tradition of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day. She sold them to raise money for the families of the men who died in WWI and later the VFW would take up the cause, selling poppies made by disabled veterans. download (8)

No one really knows for sure how or when the tradition of honoring all of our departed loved ones on Memorial Day started, but modern observances often include picnics and parades, as well as laying a wreath or flower arraignment next to headstones.

However you choose to observe Memorial Day, we here at The Celtic Ranch send our best wishes to you and yours. May it be a day of reflection and peace for everyone.

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Men in Kilts are Everywhere!

Outlander collection

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have noticed that kilts are everywhere this year and more specifically, (Huzzah!) men in kilts. From the pages of Vogue to the Paris runways, kilts have been haute couture for well over a year now. The Twittersphere is abuzz with talk about ABC’s The Bachelorette and whether JoJo should have picked the kilt-wearing John. And of course, there is the sensation that is Outlander and the hunky Jamie Frasier.

 

Outlander series

Outlander series

So face it, fellas, kilts are cool and women love them!

The Pub Kilt from Kiltman Kilts in Moss, featuring the Heritage Pocket

The Pub Kilt from Kiltman Kilts in Moss, featuring the Heritage Pocket

While the traditional, tartan kilt is a standard at formal functions, men are embracing the comfort and look of utility kilts like the Pubkilt from Kiltman Kilts, which was designed after a trip to a Scottish pub where the lads would talk about having both their tartan kilt and their beer kilt. Their beer kilt could survive a night of heavy drinking and get tossed in the wash with no worries, and still look nice enough for a Saturday night out. It’s also rugged enough for a 12 hour day on the job-site.

The Pub Kilt in Tobacco, featuring the Handyman Pocket

The Pub Kilt in Tobacco, featuring the Handyman Pocket

So feel free to bare those legs, fellas! Enjoy the breeze and give your boring old pants to charity! Kilts are here to stay!


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What Is A Whisky Ambassador?

Celtic Ranch Whiskey Snug

What is a Whisky Ambassador? According to insidejobs.com “A Whiskey Ambassador is a smooth talker who specializes in promoting hard-hitting liquor. The job of a Whiskey Ambassador is to serve as the public face of a whiskey brand.” However, with the ever-increasing popularity of whisky and whiskey around the globe, Whisky Ambassadors are in high demand, and whether they are simply hobbyists with a passion for liquid sunshine or travelling spokespeople for a brand, Whisky Ambassadors need to be trained and certified in their field. That’s where the Whisky Ambassador programme comes in. The Whisky Ambassador programme is the only accredited training course direct from the UK about all things whisky. It is a fun and interactive one-day training programme covering history, distillation, distillery locations and areas of Scotland, nosing and tasting, mixers and cocktails, other world whiskies with a practical and written exam. The Celtic Ranch is an official training facility. All exams are sent to Scotland for grading and successful applicants will get their whisky ambassador license from Scotland. A great day of learning about one of America’s new favorite pastimes! So, if you have a passion for whisky and would like to impress your friends or maybe pursue a new career path, we’re your only local, accredited training location.

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If you are interested in this one-day training and testing event, we’d love for you to join us. We have two dates open at the moment, July 23rd, 2016 and October 15th, 2016.

7/23 Whisky Ambassador

10/15/16 Whisky Ambassador


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