Bonnie Davidson / The Courier
This is my grandfather, James "Sandy" Davidson toasting the pipers as the Robbie Burns Night dinner began in Boise, Idaho. It's an annual tradition. He usually brings in his own whiskey for the celebration Burns Nig, which took place in Boise this year on Jan. 25.
Now that we have passed a holiday of love and we head into a holiday known for the four leaf clovers and green dancing leprechauns, I can't help but think of the holidays missed in Glasgow. While the folks who don't know their history, or maybe they've never stepped into a Catholic church, celebrate the holidays that have become full of mass consumerism, I always wonder do they really know what they're celebrating?
I'm a true Scot. While I was not born, in what grandpa calls the homeland, I grew up around the pipes, the tartan, the shortbread, the whiskey and most of all the attitude. While we didn't celebrate every holiday, like Boxing Day there were a few that were noted in my family. Robbie Burns night, and of course St. Andrew's Day.
When I first moved to Glasgow I was rather excited to see plaid on the police cars, and the Campbell Lodge with a piper on the sign. I thought for sure I'd run into a few Scots like myself. I called the Catholic church in town to see if there was a Mass for St. Andrew's and asked around about the celebration. To my surprise, no one here knew the holiday. It's a day to fly the Scottish flag, to dance, to sing, to read poems and in general celebrate the Scottish culture. Much of the celebration is followed by a midnight Mass. This celebration takes place at the end of November.
Since then, I've come to a realization that there just aren't a lot of Scots around here. The high schoolers play "Scotland the Brave" for their theme song and have no idea that their singing something close to the national anthem.
I took a trip to finally recover my belongings from Idaho. Making sure we went the weekend of Robbie Burns. This night is something that started in America. It's a holiday celebrating a dead Scottish poet. It started when many from the homeland came over to America for opportunities. They found themselves in a land where their customs were somewhat unusual. So they decided to gather on an annual basis on the last Saturday in January. In Boise and the Treasure Valley, it's been a celebration for 110 years.
While I attended this year's celebration my grandfather passed on a yearly tradition to a younger cousin. It was difficult to see him step down from his annual duty of reading the "Ode to a Haggis," written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. My grandpa has always claimed that I am the sixth generation of relatives to the poet. This year I watched my cousin stand in front of the Boise crowd and follow a family tradition. It was a bittersweet moment.
Residents of Valley County go out and celebrate the holiday of Roman Christian martyrs who sent a last message signed Valentine. And in the following month they head out to celebrate a holiday celebrating the Irish heritage. My hope is that next year they'll remember St. Andrew's Day, especially in Glasgow.