What About St. Andrew?
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.