PHOENIX - The Glenmorangie Scottish Highland Games is a paid sponsor of Sonoran Living Live
On Saturday & Sunday, March 23 & 24th the Arizona Scottish community and about 20,000 of their closest friends from all corners of the world will gather at Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix to celebrate their culture.
The Glenmorangie Scottish Highland Games is comprised of many things: world-class athletic competitions, Highland dance, reenactment presentations, educational seminars, clans, food, live music, bag-pipe & drum bands from all over the globe and lots of fun for the wee lads & lasses.
Have you ever seen a big burley man in a kilt toss a telephone-pole-like caber? The tradition of the athletic competition goes back to the days when rival clans or kings would meet. Competitions were organized to keep down the brawling and "street fighting", to impress one's rivals with displays of strength and skill and to gain honor and prestige. The Games came to America with the immigrants but today, the competition is between individuals and not clans. Others believe that they are the tests that were required of squires and other recruits before they were sent to battle. Many of the various athletic strength and skill requirements are the same as those that were required to successfully win a battle against a fortified position, whether it was a Roman night camp or a walled city.
Did you know that the origination of pipe bands comprised of pipers, side drummers, bass drummers and occasionally a tenor drummer occurred sometime after the battle of Waterloo in 1815? Historically, the components of competition among the members of a Pipe Band have fallen into four categories. These competitions are the solo competitions for pipers and drummers, the pipe band competition and the competition for the drum majors. Over the years and for a variety of reasons modifications and local changes have been made to these basic segments but the fundamental categories have remained with little alteration since the early 1900's. They are Solo Piping, Solo Drumming, Drum Major and Pipe Bands. Or how about, that right along with the ancient stories of daring warriors and master pipers you will find dance as a crucial part of celebrations and ceremonies of the Highlands? Nothing can compare with the graceful power of a Highland dancer recalling a glorious victory. Highland dancing is of military origin, some dances such as the Highland fling, dating back to the time of the Roman occupation of ancient Caledonia.
Once considered an athletic event, these solo dances of the Highland men were so vigorous that one had to be in top physical shape to perform them. Most competitors today are female, but the remaining Scottish regiments are still represented by male dancers who continue to perform the traditional dances.
You can even research your family roots at the Games and learn about the significance of a family tartan. "Tartan" is cloth: most kilts are made of tartan. The tartan is one of the two great symbols of Scotland, along with the bagpipes. Each clan has a tartan, sometimes more than one member can be identified by the tartan they wear. In addition to clan and family tartans there are also tartans for districts and special organizations. At the Games you will see the official tartan of the United States Marine Corps along with the Arizona State tartan.
The "Arizona State Tartan" was officially recognized in December, 1995 by a proclamation by the Governor. Colors in the Arizona tartan are green, tan, white, red, black, yellow, and azure, all significant to the state's history. Many Arizona citizens were involved in creating this newest symbol of our State with the common goal of celebrating a part of our Scottish heritage.
While you are attending the Glenmorangie Highland Games this year, make it a point to visit the Clan tents. You will have no problem finding them. Look for brightly colored flags, tartans and banners flying. You'll be as welcome as you can be and you will find many gracious and interested folks who will be more than happy to help you with any questions you might have! The Scots and their descendants are extremely proud of their long and colorful history. If you have any Scottish ancestors you will almost certainly find your family name among the list in one of the Clan tents.
The Wee Ones area this year features a bungy jump, inflatable bounce castle, water activity, arts & crafts, Rugby clinics, and a full-size siege catapult/target practice!
This year's entertainment committee proudly presents one big pub stage (literally, it's set up like a pub) featuring two popular bands: Wicked Tinkers and Angus & DidgeriDrew of Brother.
Prepare yourself for a wild ride with Wicked Tinkers! Pioneers of the growing Tribal Celtic movement, the Tinkers have been playing haunting, heart-pounding bagpipes and irresistible tribal drums as a professional touring band since 1995. With the addition, several years back, of