Scottish Festival set July 8-9
This year marks the 32nd official Payson Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Join us on July 8 and 9 at Payson’s Memorial Park for the best family fun around. The event begins on the evening of Friday, July 8, with entertainment in the park featuring guest musicians on the stage and storytelling under the dance tent. Admission is free.
The main event begins on the morning of Saturday, July 9, with dance, athletics, and pipes and bands competitions throughout the day. There will be high-quality Scottish- and Celtic-themed merchant vendors for shoppers and clan booths to offer historical and genealogical expertise. The food vendors will keep the crowds fed and hydrated with enticing victuals.
Join us at noon on Main Street for the presentation of the participating clans and bands as well as the induction of a new chieftain during opening ceremonies. The two-day event concludes on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. on the Piping Field, with closing ceremonies at the end of the competitions. Awards will be presented, Flowers of the Forest names read and remembered and the new chieftain will close the games until July 2017. Everyone leaves tired and satisfied from a fun-filled day celebrating all things Scottish.
For more information, find us at www. paysonscottishfestival.org.
According to oral tradition, some version of the Celtic/Gaelic Highland Games predates Christianity. These gatherings were basically war games held with the intent to select the best warriors in each family tribe or clan.
The first games in Scotland were organized in the 11th century and specifically designated as a sporting event. During the reign of King Malcom III, a royal contest was held to find the swiftest and strongest in the kingdom to carry the king’s messages across the land.
Games were held throughout Scotland until the Battle of Culloden in 1746. After Prince Charles Edward Stuart lost a key battle to British forces at Culloden in 1746, the Loyalist government classified virtually any object of Scottish pride or symbol of Scottish culture an “instrument of war,” banning swords and bagpipes as well as tartan fabrics and kilts under the penalty of deportation or death. That effectively squelched a good part of the Highland culture and literally destroyed the old clan structure.
After the repeal of the Act of Proscription in the latter part of the 18th century, Highland Societies began forming, and in 1781 the first society gathering was held at Falkirk. The success of this event led to the Gathering of the Clans and the Highland Games as we know them today. By the end of the 1820s, games were once again being held throughout Scotland. In the United States, the first Highland Games were organized by the Highland Society of New York in the mid 1800s.
J. Lynn Jones is retiring from Nebo School District after a total of 37 years as a teacher, principal and district-level administrator.