Your Ultimate Guide at bringing a touch of Scottish and Baird Traditions, both old and new to your holidays throughout the year. We will look at both Highland, Lowland, and diasporic traditions and how incorporating elements of these Scottish Traditions, including historic traditions, into your life can help you protect and pass culture and heritage. Today, we look at how diasporic Bairds celebrate Scottishness during Christmas throughout the world.
Scotland is country of emigrants as much as of immigrants. Both are people leaving one homeland for another. Immigrants are the peoples coming into a country while emigrants are those that are leaving. Scotland has long been a land of both. This process of emigration to foreign countries has an effect on people. It created an ethnicity and unique traditions throughout the world. The descendants of these individuals developed their own traditions or adapted Scottish traditions to their new environments. Traditions are important because the ground us with a sense of belonging and identity. In today's world while there many upsides to technological world, we have lost much of what provides stability to human psyche. We have gained world of knowledge and entertainment at the cost of our emotional well-being. Connecting to the past is way to ground ourselves, and future generations in this constantly changing world.
Today, we will look at people of Scottish descent abroad. We will ask the question of how they keep their heritage and traditions and what new traditions the have created. We will also look at the traditions arising around Christmas outside of Scotland by people of Scottish descent. Although Christmas was effectively banned when most Scots immigrated prior to 1950s, many people of Scottish descent have adapted their traditions and what many do to keep the traditions alive or feel a bit more Scottish.
The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria, USA
Each year across the Potomac from Washington D.C., the City of Alexandria, Virginia in the United States celebrates Christmas with the Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk. The city of Alexandria was founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants and was named after Scotsman John Alexander who owned the land that became Alexandria. The city and its Scottish-American descendants celebrate its their traditions and heritage with the Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade at the beginning of each December. Dozens of Scottish clans dressed in tartans and parade through the streets of Old Town. They join pipe bands, as well as hounds, terriers, and more.
Representing the Clan Baird, Bruce Beard, led a delegation of Bairds through the street. This is an annual tradition for his family and allows them to represent Bairds as well as connect to their Scottish roots. For the Bairds in Washington DC, this is great way to connect, share time with family and kickoff the holiday season. The Christmas walk has been in existence for over 50 years.
This region, Washington DC, in the United States has been the origins of many commonly accepted Scottish-American traditions such as the "Kirkin o' the Tartan" that is now celebrated throughout the country. No to be undone, Santa has been known to join in on the festivities and can be seen to carry his bagpipes in the parade.
Kiltmas in Utah
Each year in Utah, deep in the mountain west of the United States, Scottish-Americans celebrate Kiltmas. Kiltmas, which falls on Christmas, is a chance for Scottish-Utahns to dress in the Kilt to celebrate the holiday. They will attend religious services, attend family events, open presents, and look forward to another year of celebrating Christmas. For those without a kilt, Scottish-Utahns will celebrate by wearing Tartan in some form such as a tie, scarf, or clan pin.
Kiltmas includes baking Scottish Foods and traditional recipes. Some traditional recipes include mincemeat pie. While this is a fairly common in the UK, what sets apart the traditional foods is the inclusion of traditional mince pie made of suet and actual meat.
For Highland Games athletes, this may also include a celebratory practice in tossing the Caber and Hammer. Scottish Highland Games Athletes may gather the on Christmas eve, weather permitting, to exercise before partaking in the day's feasting.
Diasporic traditions are important as they connect to traditions and ancestor. They foster a sense of belonging, family, and continuity in world that demands upheaval. It also shows that Scottish traditions can be adapted for different regions and places. What Traditions, Scottish or otherwise do you do? What did we miss? What did we do wrong? Would you celebrate Kiltmas? Let us know in the comments.