Sunday, November 30, 2014

Celebrate... It's St. Andrew's Day!

Friends, family and strangers alike... rejoice. For on this day, November 30, we celebrate St. Andrew's Day!

In the same manner that Americans celebrate July 4 as our nation's birthday, St. Andrew's Day is the national day of Scotland. Both home and abroad, Scots all over the globe look upon this day as a celebration of Scottish culture, food, history, dance and music. For many people, myself included, we reflect on our Scottish ancestors and give thanks for all that Scotland has given to the world. All across Scotland, from Glasgow to Edinburgh, from Inverness to Aberdeen and everywhere in between, every Scot is happy to be from the land of tartans and thistle. Large, joyous dance events called ceilidhs are held. Friends and family dance circles and jigs together set to wonderful Celtic music. Many pints of brew are downed as well. Bottoms up!

Whether you've traced your ancestry to Scotland or not, everyone is welcome to celebrate. Today, we can all be a little Scottish!

I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite poems from the national poet and favorite son of Scotland, the prodigious Robert Burns.

The Fall of the Leaf (c. 1788)

The lazy mist hangs from the brow of the hill, 
Concealing the course of the dark-winding rill; 
How languid the scenes, late so sprightly, appear! 
As Autumn to Winter resigns the pale year. 

The forests are leafless, the meadows are brown, 
And all the gay foppery of summer is flown: 
Apart let me wander, apart let me muse, 
How quick Time is flying, how keen Fate pursues! 

How long I have liv'd-but how much liv'd in vain, 
How little of life's scanty span may remain, 
What aspects old Time in his progress has worn, 
What ties cruel Fate, in my bosom has torn. 

How foolish, or worse, till our summit is gain'd!
And downward, how weaken'd, how darken'd, how pain'd!
Life is not worth having
with all it can give- 
For something beyond it poor man sure must live.

"Lang may yer lum reek!"

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