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
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 According to scotsman.com “The first historical reference to Highland Games-type events in Scotland was made during the reign of King Malcolm III (1057-1093) when he summoned men to race up Craig Choinnich near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.
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!
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!