Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scottish Highland Games-What’s the Big Deal? by Nancy Lee Badger

Welcome back to History Undressed, one of our regular guest bloggers (who is sure to entertain you once more!) Nancy Lee Badger!

Scottish Highland Games-What’s the Big Deal?
By Nancy Lee Badger

My husband and I have attended the New Hampshire Highland Games since they started back in 1975 (before we were married). Later, my husband decided to volunteer at the three day festival. I stayed home with the boys until the youngest showed an interest in his Scottish lineage, then we joined him as volunteers. Later, my other sons also joined in the good times. We watched a small family picnic of a few hundred like-minded people turn into a massive undertaking where over 40,000 people participate.

What’s the big deal? Why do people travel hundreds (or thousands) of miles for a few days of marching bands, ethnic food, and colorfully dressed kilts? When coupled with the spectacular fall foliage of the New Hampshire White Mountains, their visit makes for a memorable experience.

These types of celebrations—often called Games—are held up and down the coast of North America and Canada. The main goal is to continue the heritage and to further the sights, sounds, and flavors of Scotland. There are more people of Scottish heritage living in the United States and Canada then there are in Scotland, and the exodus was a massive undertaking. Even now, Scottish tourism is reaping a boon of business from those seeking their Scottish roots.

Do you know the surname you wish to explore? Come to the local Highland Games and visit Clan Village or the Genealogy Tent. Are you curious about life in merry old Scotland? Visit the Highland Games historical village. Have you ever thought about the culture that made you what you are today? Check out the dancers, bagpipers, and food vendors. It all comes together at any Highland Games.

The games part of the description is not the same as the athletics. Athletics are a vital part of Highland games. Where else can you watch a kilted man or woman toss a bag of hay over a high pole with a pitchfork? Where can you watch a man or woman toss a telephone pole? Where can you see 275# or larger muscled men wearing brightly colored skirts* (oops…call a kilt a skirt and you will be shunned)

*My husband wants you to know the difference between a skirt and a kilt is that you wear undies beneath a skirt.

Many states, communities, and organizations host their own Highland Games and Scottish festivals. They welcome everyone…a Scottish lineage or kilt are not required. If you enjoy harps, bagpipes, Highland dance, wonderful food and a sea of sexy men wearing brightly colored wool kilts, please visit a Highland games or Scottish festival soon and see for yourself what the big deal is all about!

I have taken my fifteen years experience as a volunteer at the New Hampshire Highland games to write a Scottish time travel romance that begins and ends at the Highland Games. Please check out MY HONORABLE HIGHLANDER, Book #1 of the Highland Games through Time series. For more information about the games where I volunteer each fall under the Information tent, visit www.NHScot.org

Book Blurb
Bumbling present day herbalist, Haven MacKay, gets more than she bargains for when her love spell goes awry, is cast back in time, and meets her true love -- Laird Kirkwall Gunn.
Kirk’s plans go slightly off course when he falls in love with a woman wandering through the Scottish Highlands. After all, he has pledged to marry another, from an enemy clan, in order to end a century-old feud.

All Romance EBooks:   http://bit.ly/JmqjXJ
ISBN 9781476417400

After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Due to a Scottish heritage, she and her family volunteer at the New Hampshire Highland Games each fall. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy also writes romantic suspense as Nancy Lennea and is a proud Army Mom.

Twitter   @NLBadger
On Facebook as Nancy Lee Badger


Nancy said...

Thanks for having me, Eliza. I just realized I have less than 3 months to prepare for the NH Highland Games! Cannot wait!

Marin McGinnis said...

Great post, Nancy. I attended our local Scottish Games for the first time last year. For those of you who have never seen a caber toss, it gives a whole new perspective on the Scottish temperament. Don't you just have to learn more about any place that breeds men wearing skirts (sorry, kilts!) who toss tree trunks for fun?

Nancy said...

Thanks, Marin;
Yes, the caber toss is a favorite of all the games. Everyone should experience one of these festivals.

Julie Robinson said...

Bumbling and herbalist -- two words I could immediately identify with. Sounds like a fun read.

Mickey said...

Hi Nancy, Really beautifully written post. The strength of these men is amazing. Both young and old seem to join in the competitions.