Tag Archive | Scots

A dram or a cup

Statue of St. Patrick in Aughagower, County Mayo

Image via Wikipedia

On this gloomy and overcast Saint Patrick’s day eve, my mind travels to memories of lessons and adventures I had long ago in my childhood.

Primarily raised by the eccentric and nostalgic matriarchs of my family, my early childhood tutelage was that of generations past. As a result ,my imagination was cultivated with superstitious stories and a culture filled with earnest protocols.

As far back as I can remember, the subjects of these stories were spoken of as a matter fact. The elder women of my family would mention them several times a day. Perhaps it would not be a specific mention but one as simple as “knock on wood” and their presence was summoned.

Due to this vital education in survival, I know what to do if one needs to get rid of pixies or fairies from the pantry, if god forbid changeling is suspected, how to find a unicorn or a kelpie and to avoid Shellycoat so as not to loose my way.

Armed with this knowledge and a bravery stocked by the fire of determination I would joyfully venture into the forest in search of the beings I had been raised knowing but never seeing.

The reason for this other world, fairy guided walk down memory lane is the story that Saint Patrick (a Catholic) drove the snakes (the Druids) out of Ireland. I’ve always thought it ironic that poor St. Patrick shares his day with symbols of Druid mythology. The leprechaun being the main character.

But is this odd? My Nana, a good catholic woman, who later in life attended mass everyday, was one of my chief advisers on everything fairy and the facts of what we call superstition.

I see no reason why we cannot have saints and fairies. Superstitions tangled and entwined serve to as a thread tying us to our past – To the culture of our ancestors.

I end this post with a proposal . Pour a cup of Barry’s tea or a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey (Jameson was a Scotsman by birth) ponder on whomever you wish. God, saint or fairy.

Thanking our ancestors for the life they have given us.

Burns night

Today is one of my favorite days of the year! The birthday of the great Scots national bard Robert Burns.

Born on January 25, 1759, Robbert Burns or Robbie Burns as he is affectionately known, was an amazing poet and crusader for social reform. He was against any political or religious organization that condoned inhumanity.

Many people in the U.S. may not know his name but they know at least one of his poems. “Auld Lang Syne” sung at midnight every New Years.

One of the wonderful traditions around the world is to celebrate Burns Night. This dinner may be formal or informal depending on the Scots who are hosting. One year I was lucky enough to invite a friend who happened to also be a Military Piper. How is that for a host gift?

The other great thing about a Burns night is, you may host one anytime of year, although traditionally it is held on Robbie Burns Birthday.

Aside from pipers Burns night traditionally have a toast to the haggis in which the poem “Address to the Haggis” is recited as the Haggis is brought out on a silver tray. “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chiefftain of the puddin’ race!”

Then of course there is the reciting of another delightful poem “Scotch Drink”

“Let other poets raise a fracas

‘Bout vines an’ wines, an’ drunken Bacchus,…”

Robert Burns wrote many other poems of love and beauty as well. One of my all time favorite poems was written by Burns “My Heart’s in the Highlands”

Many cities world-wide will have a Burns suppers hosted by Burns Clubs, Freemasons and expats as well as some consulates.

Every Burns night I have had the pleasure to attend has been joyously fun.

Happy Burns Night Everyone!