Happy St. Andrew’s Day!
A day dedicated to Scotland’s patron saint, St. Andrew’s Day is celebrated not only in Scotland, but in locations across the world. Did you know that a number of Scottish traditions are actually celebrated every year across Canada?
For the ultimate fusion of Celtic culture with a Canadian twist, here’s our favourite Scottish traditions in the Great White North.
The Fergus Scottish Festival, Ontario
Held in mid-August each year, this festival celebrates the rich Scottish heritage of Fergus, Ontario. This festival was set up to preserve Scottish culture in Canada, and is the oldest 3-day Scottish Festival in North America. Over 30,000 visitors enjoy traditions such as bagpipe-playing, heavy-event championships and highland dancing each year.
Don’t miss: Clan tents are set up throughout the festival. Take the opportunity to discover your own Scottish heritage!
The Festival of the Tartans and Highland Games, Nova Scotia
Held in New Glasgow each year, the Scottish roots of this Nova Scotian town go back over 200 years. This festival is held each June as a five-day celebration and includes highland dancing, a kilted golf competition and pipe bands galore. If you have a taste for adventure, make sure you sample the traditional Scottish delicacy of haggis, neeps and tatties!
Don’t miss: New Glasgow include an incredible vintage and antique car show in this festival. Additionally, attend the Garden Party at Glen Haven Manor for a sophisticated Scottish fare.
The Victoria Celtic Festival, British Columbia
A 150-year tradition on Vancouver Island, the Victoria Celtic festival runs each year in the middle of May. Visitors to the island can expect traditional dancing, pipers and athletes like other Scottish festivals in Canada. However, there are also a few special events that you couldn’t find elsewhere. Enjoy the Tartan parade in downtown Victoria the week before to promote the games. The Tilted Pub Crawl is also a must-see, with over 200 participants dividing into teams and travelling around different pubs in the area.
Don’t miss: The Torchlit Ceremony, held on the second day of the festival is an incredible event that celebrates the worldwide network of Scottish clans.
The Manitoba Highland Gathering, Manitoba
A tradition in Selkirk, Manitoba for over 50 years, this festival is a celebration of the Scottish heritage of the province. This gathering takes place at the end of June each year and includes a highland dance competition, heavy games competition but also more wacky activities such as sheep sheering and herding!
Don’t miss: For an authentic Scottish experience, visit the market full of Celtic wares and enjoy a pint of beer in the Scottish pub. There are also living history exhibitions throughout the proceedings.
The Highland Games and Scottish Festival, Prince Edward Island
Held in August each year, this attracts locals and visitors across the world with Celtic gift vendors, Scottish food stalls and entertainment throughout the proceedings. Prince Edward Island is also home to The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada. This school perform at the event and have a world-class reputation for their skill in bagpiping, drumming and highland dancing.
Don’t miss: ‘Highland Storm’. A show produced by The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts, this is an electric fusion of Celtic music and dance that runs three nights a week throughout the summer months.
Which of these Scottish festivals would you like to experience first? Let us know in the comments below!