The holidays kick off this week and 'tis the season for much more than traditional turkey. In Scotland, it’s also Saint Andrew’s Day, the country's blowout national celebration on November 30. And with both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving falling on Thursday, the cheer factor is reved up. Three fetes in one week? It’s a veritable Holiday Turducken! Bring on the haggis, turkey, and matzah ball soup, and why not add in a few pilgrims in kilts and yarmulkes while we’re at it?!
There are more than 9 million people in Canada and the US of Scottish descent (and 50 million around the world), which means there will likely be a few rousing renditions of "Flower of Scotland" and "Scots Wha Hae" sung in the name of the country’s patron saint this weekend. I'm pretty sure there must be a little Irish or Scottish blood in me. How else can I explain my red hair, freckles, and mad love of single malt scotch and plaid?
Saint Andrew's Day is celebrated, like most holidays, with food and drink, music, and dance. I still recall a memorable weekend I spent in Glasgow several years ago and a holiday party where a group of merry ladies and gents tried to teach me a traditional country reel called “The Dashing White Sergeant,” popular at celebrations. We set up with three facing three around the room, man between two ladies or lady between two men---and away we went, circling, turning, and stepping right and left at a tempo a hamster on a wheel couldn't keep up with. Mastering the dance required much more coordination than I could muster, but the fun was real and my cheeks were rosy from the effort (or maybe the single malt).
If you can't make it to The Motherland to celebrate Saint Andrew's Day, there are a few places around the world ready to bring Scotland to you. Here is a link.
Whatever your holiday of preference this week, and whatever your reel or drink of choice, I hope you share them with loved ones--young and old, kilted or non. ‘T’is the season, and that’s reason enough.
For more about Saint Andrew's Day check out this link.