How I Reconnected With My Scottish Heritage
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How I Reconnected With My Scottish Heritage

How my family and I do it one highland games at a time

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How I Reconnected With My Scottish Heritage
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All my life, I've known where I came from. I knew the stories of my great-great grandparents and how they came over from Scotland and about their heritage as well as mine. But it always felt so far away, that I could never truly get in touch with my heritage.

That was until I went to the St. Andrew's Society Highland Games.

My grandparents are members of the St. Andrew's society and have been active participants and volunteers for years and years. I didn't start until I was in 7th grade and I haven't looked back since.

Every year my family and I attend the games, soaking in our Scottish heritage. We listen to the bagpipes, watch the highland dancers, cheer on the tug of war, and watched with bated breath as the heavy athletics throw 56-pound weights over their heads.

Every year we find ourselves enjoying our heritage.

It is in these moments that I wonder if my ancestors ever witnessed what I was seeing and experiencing. I wonder if they would be happy knowing that myself and my family still celebrate our heritage. We learn about where we come from and enjoy each other's company in the process.

We also spend the time together volunteering. We work during the day for a bit and once the day ends, we begin to tear everything down. It's a lot of hours doing a lot of tough work, but it's a good kind of work. Yeah, we're sore and exhausted, but we did something together and we got to help others. I like to think that it brings our family closer together while in the midst of our heritage. We may snap at each other from time to time, but at the end of the day when we're enjoying ice cream together, it seems so far away.

It isn't much.

Most of our day is spent wandering around and trying to stay out of the heat, but there's something about hearing the bagpipes and wearing my family's tartan that brings me closer to my relatives. Seeing all the families there enjoying the day, some in kilts and some not, is enough to make me smile. Sharing my heritage with others is a gift I never knew I could give. I could tell them our stories, share my traditions, and teach them about our customs.

Some that come to the games attend because it is something totally different to do on a nice August weekend. But for those of us who are lucky enough to be Scotsmen (and Scotswomen), we get to be closer to our family heritage in a unique way.

So I am proud to be an active participant and volunteer of the longest running Highland Games in all of North America.

Here's to 168 years and just as many more.

I hope to see you next year.

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