This well-done documentary showcases many aspects of highland games in Scotland, as well as discussing the history of the games. We (of course) particularly enjoyed the footage of the dancing and it’s also fun to learn about many of the other events that take place at highland games around the world. Did you have any idea that the hammer throwers wear “blade boots,” shoes with what look to be trowels mounted in the front? Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments!
Legend has it that the initial Gillie Callum, more commonly known as the Sword Dance, was created by Malcolm Canmore, a Celtic Prince who fought a battle in 1054. Triumphant, he crossed his opponent’s sword with his own and danced over them celebrating his victory. It is also said that the warriors danced the Sword Dance prior to battle. If the warrior touched the swords, it was considered an omen symbolizing injury or death in battle.
We no longer have to worry about going into battle, but the dance links us to those soldiers. Highland dancing has been handed down to us as a proud tradition that we continue to celebrate today. Originally, only men performed and competed in the dances, but now men and women compete as equals. The strength and agility once necessary for victory in battle will now bring medals and trophies.
We hope you enjoy this video of a group of talented male dancers performing the Sword Dance. Watch their strength showcasing the tradition that unites highland dancers worldwide.
It’s early in the morning and all around the highland dance platform, dancers are getting their hair fixed, nervously warming up, and taking in last minute advice from their teachers. Within the larger highland games, we’re often in our own little world.
Nearby, the sound of a hundred bagpipers fills the air, punctuated by cheers from the crowd as men toss logs the size of telephone poles. The scent of meat pies, roast corn, and other tasty treats being prepared for the lunchtime rush wafts across the field. Each year thousands of people enjoy attending highland games in the United States. They come for the food, the cultural celebration, the music, the athletics, as well as the dancing.
Next time your siblings, grandparents, and friends want to tag along to support you, encourage them to come and watch, and then to take part in the children’s athletics, the kilted mile, whiskey tasting, or whatever excites them.
Have you been to a big Highland Games? One with thousands of people and activities from morning to night? Tell us about your favorite part (besides the dancing, of course) in the comments!
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featuring highland dancers from across New England
video by Charlotte Pierce
If you happened to be visiting Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston on August 13th, you might’ve heard the sound of bagpipes filling the air. Two bagpipers marched along followed by two dancers, stopping in front of Quincy Market. As the show started, more and more dancers joined in the flash mob, until nearly 30 dancers filled the courtyard with a sea of plaid. Some wore plaid shorts, vests, blouses; all with smiles and a great impromptu display of dancing.
Later that afternoon, the flash mob made a second appearance at Boston’s Public Garden:
video by ACTVAuburn
Dancing alongside the famous swan boats and manicured gardens, they entertained locals and tourists alike. Highland dancers from all over New England participated in the flash mob, traveling from as far away as New Hampshire and Connecticut. We hope you enjoy this video as much as we do!
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