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March 1, 2010 07:05 - March Highland Games and Events

March being the month of St. Patrick’s Day, there’s plenty of events that are Irish related, and some Scottish Highland Games as well.

Get a group of friends together, find a game or festival, and just go!

  • March 4 to 7, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada ~ East Coast Music Awards
  • March 5 to 6, Manhattan, Illinois ~ Manhattan Irish Fest
  • March 5 to 6, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania ~ Lewisburg Celtic Days
  • March 5 to 7, Dallas, Texas ~ North Texas Irish Festival
  • March 5 to 7, Porthcawl, Wales ~ Celtic Festival of Wales


    Porthcawl, Wales Celtic Festival logo
    courtesy Celtic Festival of Wales

    Note the Welsh dragons in the Celtic knot. The words cwlwm celtaidd seem to translate as ‘Celtic Knot’

  • March 5 to 21, Manchester, England ~ Manchester Irish Festival. In case you’re wondering, many Irish and Scotsmen fled to Manchester during hard times seeking work. Evidently, some stayed.


    Irish Festival in Manchester, England
    courtesy Manchester Irish Festival

  • March 6, Florence, Kentucky ~ Irish Day at the Races, including Irish Foods and Beverages
  • March 6, Wheeling, West Virginia ~ Wheeling Celtic Celebration
  • March 6, Yarmouth, Massachusetts ~ Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 6 to 7, Pomona, California ~ Los Angeles County Irish Fair and Music Festival
  • March 6 to 7, Zephyrhills, Florida ~ Zephyrhills Celtic Festival and Highland Games
  • March 6 to 14, San Francisco, California ~ Crossroads Irish-American Festival
  • March 6 to 17, Seattle, Washington ~ Irish Week
  • March 7, Greenville, South Carolina ~ Return to the Green Festival
  • March 8 to 13, Roche Harbor, Washington ~ Friday Harbor Irish Music Camp
  • March 10 to 13, Clare, Michigan ~ Clare’s Irish Festival
  • March 11, Houston, Texas ~ Annual Scottish Festival Spectacular, celebrating Houston’s First World Championship Pipe Band 25th Anniversary, with 300 pipers, drummers, and dancers


    Houston In Celtic Times courtesy
    Scottish Festival Spectacular

  • March 12 to 13, Toledo, Ohio ~ St. Patrick’s Day Festival
  • March 12 to 14, Dublin, Ireland ~ St. Patrick’s Festival


    St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland courtesy Dublin St Patrick‘s Festival

    With the Parade theme in 2010 being ‘Extraordinary World’, the parade features street theatre troupes, artists, giant puppetry, dancers and marching bands from Ireland and across the globe.

  • March 12 to 14, Midland, Texas ~ Scottish-Irish Faire


    Jousting in Midland courtesy
    Celtic Heritage Society of the Permian Basin

  • March 12 to 14, Muskegon, Michigan ~ St. Patrick’s Irish Fest
  • March 12 to 14, Sonora, California ~ Sonora Celtic Faire
  • March 12 to 14, Westbury, Tasmania, Australia ~ Westbury St. Patrick’s Festival
  • March 12 to 17, Portland, Oregon ~ Portland Irish Festival
  • March 13, Chicago, Illinois ~ South Side Irish Parade Family Fest
  • March 13, Libby, Montana ~ Irish Fair
  • March 13, Moorhead, North Dakota ~ Celtic Festival
  • March 13, Norfolk, Virginia ~ Norfolk St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 13, Panama City, Florida ~ Panama City Highland Games
  • March 13, Phoenix, Arizona ~ St. Patrick’s Day Irish Parade and Faire
  • March 13 to 14, West Palm Beach, Florida ~ West Palm Beach Irish Fest
  • March 13 to 17, Cork, Ireland ~ St. Patrick’s Festival
  • March 14, Maston Mills, Massachusetts ~ Celtic Music Night
  • March 14, Punta Gorda, Florida ~ Peace River Celtic Festival
  • March 15, New London, Wisconsin ~ Grand Parade and Irish Fest
  • March 16, Tucson, Arizona ~ St Patrick‘s Day Parade and Festival
  • March 17, Hot Springs, Arkansas ~ World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade with green fireworks, Irish belly dancers, floats, Irish Wolfhounds, and the Pub-Crawl. Always held on March 17th on historic Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs, Bridge Street became famous in the 1940's when Ripley's Believe It or Not designated it "The Shortest Street in the World." Note on the poster this is the 7th First Ever Parade.


    Hot Springs World’s Shortest Parade Poster
    courtesy Hot Springs World‘s Shortest Parade

  • March 19 to 20, Yukon, Oklahoma ~ Iron Thistle Scottish Heritage Festival and Highland Games
  • March 20, Murphy’s, California ~ Murphy’s Irish Day
  • March 20 to 21, Church Hill, Virginia ~ Church Hill Irish Festival
  • March 20 to 21, Troup, Texas (south of Tyler) ~ Four Winds Faire - St. Patrick’s Celebration
  • March 21, Geelong, Victoria, Australia ~ Geelong Highland Games
  • March 27, Dunedin, Florida ~ Dunedin Highland Games and Festival
  • March 27, Puyallup, Washington ~ Scottish American Festival
  • March 27, MacLean, New South Wales, Australia ~ Maclean Highland Gathering


    Maclean Games vintage photo
    courtesy Maclean Highland Gathering

  • March 27 to 28 , Mint Hill, North Carolina ~ Mint Hill Highland Games
  • March 27 to 28, San Antonio, Texas ~ San Antonio Highland Games
  • March 28, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia ~ Bathurst Highland Gathering
  • March 29, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia ~ Ringwood Highland Games

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Coming tomorrow, Scottish Sweets continues with Pollen Drops and Puff Candy

March 2, 2010 05:35 - Scottish Sweets ~ Pollen Drops to Puff Candy

Puff, Sponge, or Cinder Toffee may not sound appealing, but how about Fairy Food or Honeycomb? Read on…

Pollen Drops ~ hearkening back to the honey wedding favors blog from February 12th, here’s a bee pollen candy that’s good and soooo good for you.


Pollen Drops courtesy Vermont Country Store

Puff Candy with a light, rigid sponge-like texture his sweet is made of brown sugar, corn syrup, or molasses. Then baking soda and vinegar are added, and the chemical reaction puffs up into a light, airy treat.


Puff Candy courtesy Wikipedia

It is usually home-made by children. But it’s also sold commercially in small blocks. Sometimes it’s covered with chocolate, as in Crunchie or Violet Crumble bars.

Puff candy goes by others names in other areas ~

  • Honeycomb and cinder toffee in England
  • Seafoam in Maine, Washington, Oregon, California, and Michigan
  • Fairy Food or Angel Food in Wisconsin
  • Sponge Candy or Sponge Toffee in Southern Ontario; Quebec; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Buffalo, New York

For those of us who just love rhubarb, tomorrow is your day…


March 3, 2010 05:45 - Scottish Sweets ~ Rhubarb Candies to Sherbet Straws

If you’re one of us quirkie Yankees who loves rhubarb, this is for you…or if you’re using pink in your wedding theme here‘s two choices.

Rhubarb and Custard


Rhubarb and Custard courtesy Sweet Junkie

Gibbs Rhubarb Rock


Gibbs Rhubarb Rock courtesy Sweetie World

Saltire Rock ~ just in case you don’t know, The Saltire is the national flag of Scotland. It’s often displayed anywhere Scots gather. You’ll see them on cufflinks, braces [aka suspenders], small tabletop flags, as a tartan…. Scottish Wedding Dreams
Wedding Symbols
tells a short history of The Saltire.


Ross Saltire Rock courtesy Sweetie World

Sherbet Straws ~ in the same pastels as Jordan Almonds, they could be mixed together, or used in place of the almonds.


Gibbs Sherbet Straws courtesy Sweetie World

Tomorrow the list continues with Starrie Rock…

March 4, 2010 05:46 - Scottish Sweets ~ Starrie Rock to Sugar Pebbles

From stars to stones, with more mice between, the varieties of Scottish Sweets continues…

Starrie Rock ~ also known as star rock or starrie, a traditional Angus stick sweet of various colors and flavors, including peppermint, clove, lemon, cinnamon and ginger. Less brittle than seaside rock, instead of becoming brittle in your mouth, this turns itself into a hard ball of toffee. The main ingredient is golden syrup, which creates star shaped swirls of gold.

Sugar Mice ~ an unusual treat going back several centuries,
Sweet Junkie has a brief history of sugar mice. They also have a link to how the mice are made.


Sugar Mice courtesy Sweet Junkie

Sweet Junkie even offers message mice, with a selection of messages, or you can have your own message on the mice.


Sugar Mice courtesy Sweet Junkie

Sugar Pebbles


Sugar Pebbles courtesy Mrs. O’Malley’s Sweetie World

Tomorrow, the listing of Scottish Sweets completes, then on to sources…

March 5, 2010 04:49 - Scottish Sweets ~ Tablet to Vimto’s Bon Bons

We’ve come to the end of the Scottish Sweets. From among all these candies, hopefully you’ve found some that you’d like to use as favors at your reception. Maybe you’ve found so many, that the idea of a candy bar has developed as part of your Scottish wedding theme.

Tablet, taiblet in Scots, is a medium hard candy. Also known as Butter Tablet, Butter Fudge, Cream Tablet, Swiss Milk Tablet, and Russian Fudge.

Condensed milk, sugar, and butter are boiled, flavored with vanilla, and sometimes has nuts added.

An early 18th century recipe is found in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie. The tablet recipe calls for just sugar and cream as ingredients. Cream has a tendency to burn when boiled, so confectioners switched to condensed milk and butter instead of cream.

Tablet differs from fudge in it’s brittle granular texture, whereas fudge is much softer.


Tablet courtesy Wikipedia

Toffee Doodles


Toffee Doodles courtesy Mrs. O’Malley’s

Vimto Bon Bons - combines raspberry, black currant, and grape in a chew


McCowan’s Vimto Bon Bons courtesy Sweetie World

Tomorrow, a list of where you can order the Scottish Sweets online…

March 8, 2010 07:13 - Soor Plooms and a Complete List of Sweets Posted

Oh my, one of the most interesting of the sweeties got left out ~ Soor Plooms.

Soor Plooms ~ a sharp flavored sweet first made in 1337 in Galashiels, Scotland. An English raiding party was overwhelmed and killed by local men. The English had been eating unripe plums and were somewhat incapacitated.

Soor Plooms have been featured in the Oor Willie and The Broons cartoons. The October 23, 2010 article features an Oor Willie cartoon.

Not surprisingly, "Soor Plooms" is the town motto for Galashields. There is also a Border pipe tune, from the 1700’s, called Soor Plooms of Galashiels.


Gibbs Soor Plooms courtesy Sweetie World

With the Scottish Sweets covering so many days, here’s a listing of all the sweets posted ~

February 18th

  • Acorns
  • Berwick Cockles
  • Black-strippit Ba’s
  • Buchanan’s Italian Creams

February 19th

  • Butternuts
  • Chocolate Lime Satins
  • Cheugh Jeans
  • Cinnamon Balls

February 22nd ~

  • Clove Rock
  • Coconut Mushrooms
  • Coulter’s Candy, Coltart’s Candy, Bonfire Toffee
  • Curly-andras

February 23rd

  • Dandelion and Burdock Balls
  • Dandelion and Burdock Pips
  • Edinburgh Rock, Edinburgh Castle Rock
  • Fried Eggs
  • Friendship Rings
  • Fruit Rounders
  • Giant Apples
  • Giant Strawberries

February 24th

  • Giant Pink and White Mice
  • Granny Sookers
  • Hawick Balls

February 25th

  • Heart Throbs
  • Jethart Snails
  • Lemon Rock
  • Licorice Satins
  • Love Hearts
  • Lucky Tatties
  • Milk Shakes

February 26th

  • Mixed Boilings
  • Moffat Toffee
  • Oddfellows
  • Pan Drops
  • Petticoat Tails

March 2rd

  • Pollen Drops
  • Puff Candy

    March 3rd

    • Rhubarb and Custard
    • Rhubarb Rock
    • Saltire Rock
    • Sherbet Straws

    March 4th

    • Starrie Rock, Star Rock, Starrie
    • Sugar Mice
    • Sugar Pebbles

    March 5th

    • Tablet
    • Toffee Doodles
    • Vimto McCowin’s Bon Bons

    March 8th

    • Soor Plooms

    Coming tomorrow, a list of sources for the sweets…

  • March 9, 2010 06:36 - Scottish Sweets ~ Sources

    There are probably many more online Scottish Sweets sources, these are the ones located so far. When you get to the sites that have really broad selections, take the time to browse their other candies, as you may find something more to your liking. Also check to see if larger quantities are available in the sweets you select.

    British Candy ~ for small packages of Love Hearts, perfect little wedding favors. The messages are available by the jar. If you’re considering a Candy Bar, the jar can even be personalized.

    British Sweets ~ for McCowan’s Vimto Bon Bons, the raspberry, black currant, and grape chews.

    Keep It Sweet ~ offers little pyramids of Love Hearts.


    Ma Cameron’s is one source of Scottish sweeties, specializing in traditional, popular favorites. The company has packaging appropriate for weddings. Located in Sterling, they cater to ex-patriates. Though listed as an online source, I’ve yet to find a URL address.


    Mrs. O’Malley’s
    , though located in Northern Ireland, they’ve a wide variety of appropriate sweets.

    Scottish Gourmet USA ~ a source for Hawick Balls in the argyle tins with the gold horseman.

    Vermont Country Store. Though the acorn candy seems to be seasonal, they also have other interesting candies. A partial listing is marzipan fruits, milk chocolate pansies, Peppermint Pigs, Pollen Drops, and Licorice Scotties. Though not candies, they also carry pickled walnuts, which is a British Christmas tradition, and Daisy Shortbread Cookies. In contemporary times, Shortbread is used in the Scottish tradition of Bannocks.

    Sweet Junkie has a broad line of traditional Scottish sweets.

    Sweetie World ~ is another source of Scottish confections, with a wide variety of sweets available in tubs and jars, making for a lower cost per piece.

    Coming tomorrow, the Candy Man of Lockerbie Square…

    March 10, 2010 05:59 - The Candy Man of Lockerbie Square

    So, where in the world is Lockerbie Square? How about Indianapolis, Indiana.

    And who was the Candy Man? Have you ever read the poem Little Orphan Annie?

    James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier Poet, was the author. He began his career writing verse in an Indiana dialect for local newspapers. Most of his 1000 poems are humorous or sentimental. And half are written in the local Indiana dialect.

    Riley’s big break came with The Old Swimming Hole and ’Leven More Poems in 1883. In 1893, while visiting Indianapolis, he settled in the Lockerbie neighborhood.

    Riley never married, nor had any children of his own, though he wrote verse for children. Riley lived in the Lockerbie District for over twenty years. And the children knew him as the Candy Man, as he gave candy to the local children on his regular walks through the district. I doubt if many even knew he wrote some the poems they learned at school.

    Oh, to be remembered as someone who brought joy to children with a regular treat of candy, when he had traveled the country reading his poetry, been presented to the President of the United States, and won medals for his poetry. Not as bad remembrance for one of America’s great poets.

    Tomorrow, another Candy Man…

    March 11, 2010 06:43 - William Arthur Cummings, Better Known as Candy Cummings

    Ever heard of the New York Mutuals or the Baltimore Canaries? How about the Philadelphia White Stockings or the Hartford Dark Blues? There were also the Brooklyn Excelsiors and the Newark Eurekas.

    But we’ve all heard of the Cincinnati Reds? Right?

    William Arthur Cummings played pitcher and outfielder for these baseball teams from 1872 to 1877. In 1939 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    While pitching for the Brooklyn Excelsiors, New Yorkers began calling him Candy. This was a Civil War era word that meant "superlative, the best of anything".


    Candy Cummings courtesy Wikipedia

    As a pitcher, he is credited with inventing the curve bal. Most baseball historians credit Candy with the first ball to curve in flight and the first to use the pitch successfully under competitive conditions.

    Until other pitchers and batters learned the curve ball, Candy was the most dominant pitcher in the country.

    Candy gave all the credit for the curve ball to clam shells. When he was 14, while at a Brooklyn beach with his friends, they began throwing clam shells into the ocean. Being flat and circular, the shells made wide arcs while in flight. For over an hour the boys experimented with the mechanics of flight.

    For four years, Cummings discovered he could make the baseball curve if he released the ball by rolling it off his second finger while violently twisting his wrist. This maximized the amount of spin on the ball.

    By the age of 28, his arm was spent and his professional baseball days were over. He returned to his home town of Ware, Massachusetts, and studied to become a painter and paper-hanger.

    When Candy retired he became the first president of the newly formed International Association for Professional Base Ball Players.

    With a name like Cumming, Candy had to have had Scottish ancestry. There are seven Cumming related tartans. Some are Comyn tartans.

    Comyn Cumming Tartan WR288


    Comyn Cumming Tartan WR288

    Cumming of Glenorchy Clan Tartan WR507


    Cumming of Glenorchy Clan Tartan WR507

    Cumming Clan Tartan WR508


    Cumming Clan Tartan WR508

    Comyn MacAulay Tartan WR1157


    Comyn MacAulay Tartan WR1157

    Cumming Comyn Clan Tartan WR1158
    Though the origins of this tartan are unknown, it was worn by John, Lord of Badenoch - the Red Comyn, who fought Robert the Bruce for the Scottish throne, and died in the attempt. The Comyns of Altyre became Chiefs of the Clan.


    Cumming Comyn Clan Tartan WR1158


    Cumming and Glenorchy Clan Tartan WR1902
    Also a district tartan worn by the Cummings or Comyns who once owned the thirteenth century Inverlochy Castle at Fort William


    Cumming and Glenorchy Clan Tartan WR1902

    Comyn Cumming Buchanan WR2012 Tartan


    Comyn Cumming Buchanan Tartan WR2012

    March 12, 2010 05:57 - Closed for Maintenance until March 22nd

    Scottish Wedding Dreams website has been in publications for over 4 years. I find I need to do some house-cleaning and maintenance work. Therefore, next week I won’t be publishing any blogs. The Newsroom will return on March 22nd. Hopefully with the website pages more concise and topics more readily accessed.

    With all the candy from Valentine’s Day until now, there’s plenty to browse and a vast array of candies to select from for your wedding favors or candy bar. And, in light of the Civil War era meaning for ‘candy’ absorbed over the last several days, you can continue to plan your candy wedding favors, that special 'candy' wedding gown, and a very special ‘candy’ wedding.

    See you next a week, with more interesting people who have Scottish blood coursing through their veins, hair garlands, unique wedding gowns with a Scottish theme, some new tiaras, and a new tartan generator.

    March 22, 2010 05:43 - Hawick, Galashiels, and Jedburgh ~ Part I

    A month ago, while suggesting sweets for reception favors, Hawick Balls, Jethart Snails, and Galashiels Soor Plooms were introduced. All three distinctive, popular sweets which were blogged on February 24th and 25th and March 3rd.

    The Hawick Baw Game and the Jethart Hand Ba‘ Game were mentioned, with a promise to cover the topic at a later date. Today the story of Hand Ba’, or Baw, Games begins with a brief history of the three towns.

    In modern times, rugby is a rough and tumble sport, for which The Border towns are notorious. Hawick and Galashiels have a big rivalry. Jethart, Hawick, and Galashiels all lie within 20 miles of each other, and being along The Borders, all were subject to raids and skirmishes by both English and Scottish forces. So rough and tumble, fight for your life and your town are nothing new to the area, not only in the regularly scheduled rugby games, but the annual Ba’ Games.

    Tomorrow, Hawick’s history is explored…

    March 23, 2010 05:27 - Hawick, Galashiels, and Jedburgh ~ Part II

    Hawick, the first of The Borders towns, is steeped in history, as well as the Hawick Balls.




    Hill‘s Hawick Balls
    courtesy Scottish Gourmet




    Looking at their corporate tartan, you can see a similarity between the sweets tin and the tartan.




    Hawick Corporate District Tartan WR2220




    There is also a dress tartan ~




    Hawick Dress District Tartan WR2409




    At the Battle of Flodden Field, in 1513, in terms of numbers, this was the largest battle fought between England and Scotland. The men from Hawick issued their war cry Teribus ye teri odin.

    This is a line from the ‘Teries’ song, which is still sung as festive gatherings, whenever natives of Hawick and The Borders gather. It can be heard even in remote areas of Canada, the United States, and Australia.



    Teribus ye teri odin

    Sons of heroes slain at Flodden

    Imitating Border bowmen

    Aye defend your rights and common




    Speculated origins of the war cry and the ballad include ~
    • tgeri and odin for Thor and Odin, from Norse mythology
    • the ballad being about patriotic defense and defiance against foreign invaders, the phrase may also be a corruption of the Gaelic Tir a buuaigh, ‘s tir a dion, which means ‘Land of victory and land of defense’.

    In 1514, local youths rode out to defy an English raiding party. They routed the English army at Hornshole, stole the Bishop of Hexham’s flag, and returned to Hawick in full glory, defending their town while the men were away at war.

    Ancient custom required the men to ride their boundaries, ‘cutting the sod’ to mark the corners of their land.

    These three events ~ Flodden Field, routing the English army, and riding the boundaries ~ are combined today in the annual Common Riding. Rough Guide describes the event as one of the best parties in the world.

    Hawick claims to be one of the farthest towns from the sea in Scotland.

    The Hawick Baw game is on the first Monday after the new moon in the month of February. The ‘uppies’ and ‘downies’ compete.

    Coming tomorrow, the history of Galashiels…

    March 24, 2010 10:35 - Hawick, Galashiels, and Jedburgh ~ Part III

    Galashiels is the home of Soor Ploom sweets, where in 1337 a party of English soldiers were slaughtered by the Scots. When their guts were opened with swords, sour plums spilled out. Evidently the wild plums disabled the Englishmen, thus their demise.

    The event has since been commemorated in the Galashiels Coat Of Arms




    Galashiels Coat of Arms courtesy NGW




    In 1599 Galashiels received its burgh Charter, an event celebrated every summer by the "Braw Lads Gathering" with riders on horseback parading through the town. This event is held on the Saturday nearest the 30th day of June. Events in Galashiels history are commemorated, including the defeat of the English Raiding Party by the men of Galashiels in 1337.




    Galashiels Braw Lad Gathering
    courtesy Return to the Ridings




    In good hearted rivalry prevalent among The Borders towns, the people of Galashiel call Hawick ‘Dirty Hawick’. The Hawick citizens in turn call people from Galashiels pail merks. This derogatory nickname arose because Galashiels was the last to be plumbed into the mains water system, with the residents still relying on buckets for their toilets.

    Tomorrow, Jedburgh, then on to the Ba’ Games…

    March 25, 2010 09:19 - Hawick, Galashiels, and Jedburgh ~ Part IV Jedburgh

    Jethart is also known as Jeddart and Jedburgh and about a gazillion other ancient names. They, too, have other claims to fame, beyond their sweets and the Jethart Ba’ Game.

    Jedburgh is one of the few areas of Britain and all of Europe where the full range of stars can be seen at night.

    David Brewster, physicist, mathematician, scientist, writer, and inventor was born in Jedburgh.


    Sir David Brewster
    courtesy Jedburgh

    He invented the kaleidoscope, an example of hyperbolic geometry.
    The word kaleidoscope was coined in 1817, from the Greek words kalos, meaning beautiful, eidos, meaning shape, and skopeo, meaning to look at.


    San Diego kaleidoscope courtesy Wikipedia


    Kaleidoscopes courtesy Wikipedia

    View a You Tube kaleidoscope segment Star FK Radium - "Blue Siberia"

    Another You Tube site displays a montage of kaleidoscope formations to accompany the music of Norwegian singer Kate Havnevik.

    Though the kaleidoscope is his best known invention, his discoveries regarding metallic reflections, the optical properties of crystals, angles of polarization. These discoveries were used in the kaleidoscope, lighthouse apparatus and the stereoscope.

    Another claim to fame is the Jeddart axe, a 16th century polearm with a glaive-like blade fixed on the pole by two sockets. In 1575 at the Raid of the Redeswire, England was defeating the Scottish. That is, until the men of Jedburgh arrived with their staffs, broke the English lines, and turned the battle.

    Jedburgh is known for having dispensed Jeddart Justice or Jethart Justice, which is where a man is hanged first and tried afterward. The citizens are reported to have executed a gang of villains.

    The Capon Oak , also known as the Kepping Tree and the Trysting Tree, is a survivor from the ancient Jedforest. Few of these trees remain. It’s held together with concrete, bricks, and timber beams to support the trunk and limbs, as the tree has a massive split down the trunk. Even with the injury, the tree continues to grow, as seen in this photo of the annual Callants Ride.


    Capon Tree Opening Ceremonies courtesy Jedburgh Callants Festival

    Tomorrow, read more about the Callants Ride and the Jeddart Ba Game…

    March 26, 2010 06:54 - Hawick, Galashiels, and Jedburgh ~ Part V

    Continuing with Jedburgh, the Callants Ride is an annual celebration. The ride celebrates victory in battles and the bravery of the young men. A callant is a boy or youth.

    A two week event, the celebration opens at the Capon Oak, when the Callant, several cavalcades arrive near the Capon oak.


    Jedforest Capon Oak courtesy Wikipedia

    After the Provost busses the flag and charges the Callant with it’s safe-keeping, they all ride out the Jedwater Road. And they are all armed with a Jeddart Axe. They ride to Ferniehirst Castle, where they sing Jethart’s Here and the Brave Lads of Jethart.

    A rendition of Brave Lads of Jethart can be heard at Borders Traditions.


    Jedburgh Banner with Coat of Arms courtesy Jedburgh Callants Festival

    The Cavalcade rides on to Lintalee, to celebrate the 1317 defeat of the English. Riding back to Jedburgh, they ford the River Jed at the Auld Brig and proceed to their war memorial.


    Jedburgh Callants Festival
    courtesy Jedburgh Callants Festival

    On Saturday morning, they fire their cannon, race around the town, and the Jedburgh Border Games, which began in 1853, open.

    Jeddart also boasts a district tartan ~


    Jethart Corporate District Tartan WR2314

    Since Medieval times, the annual Hand Ba’ games has only been cancelled once, due to the funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901. As a Medieval game, it’s rough and tumble, but that’s a topic for next Monday…

    March 29, 2010 06:32 - The Annual Ba’ Games

    In Jedburgh, the annual Ba’ Game is still played on Shrove Tuesday, between the ‘Uppies’ and the ‘Doonies’. Many Border towns play their annual Ba’ Game around Christmas and Hogmanay.

    The Ba’ Game is a version of Medieval football. Another good name for the game would be ’Mob Football’. The game moves through the town, including alleys and yards, as well as the streets. Many shops and houses board their windows against breakage. As rough as it sounds, people are rarely hurt.

    Here’s a photo of the Jedburgh Mercat Cross, where the game begins. The photo was taken from Castle Hill. Remember the cross is also the dividing line for the two teams.


    Jedburgh Mercat Cross courtesy Wikipedia

    The uppies hail, or score, the ball at the top of the Castlegate by throwing the ball over a fence at the Castle. The doonies, hail by rolling the ball over a drain in the road at a street just off the bottom of High Street. The drain lies directly over a burn, or stream, which was the original doonie hail, but has been covered over.

    Two games are played, one for the laddies and one for the men. Photos from many years have been archived by Charles Tait. Several years of photos are copyrighted and The Ba'
    Website
    has posted them for viewing.

    Other Ba’ games are played in

    • Duns
    • Roxburgh
    • Kirkwall
    • Scone ~ the bachelors compete against the married men . To win, the bachelors must to hang the ball three times, which meant drowning or dipping the ball in a deep place in the river. The married men must place the ball in a small lid on the moor three times. If neither side reaches this goal, the ball is divided into equal parts at sunset.
    • Stromness

    Coming tomorrow, the promised explanation of the Mercat Cross…

    March 30, 2010 07:56 - The Mercat Cross ~ Part I

    The Mercat Cross plays a big role in the Scottish Ba’ Games.
    • First it determines which side the men play for. Those born above the cross are the ‘Uppies’, while those born below the cross are the ‘Doonies’.

    • The ball is put into play at the Mercat Cross.

    But what is the Mercat Cross?

    In Scottish towns where trade and commerce was conducted, the cross was where merchants bought and sold. As time went by, the cross became the focal point for town events, posting announcements, and making proclamations.

    Even today, important announcements and proclamations are made at the Edinburgh Mercat Cross. This includes election results and the succession of new monarchs.

    A mercat cross isn’t a cross at all, in the religious sense. They vary from a short pole stuck in the ground to grand pillars rising out of a ‘cross house’.

    In other countries of Western Europe, they’re called the market cross. Some are spires, obelisks, or cruciform crosses. Originally built of wood, they evolved into carved stone, elaborately decorated.

    One surviving wooden market cross can be seen in Wymondham, England. From the 13th century, it was rebuilt in 1617.


    Wymondham England Market Cross courtesy Wikipedia

    Tomorrow, the Mercat Cross continues…


    March 31, 2010 06:13 - The Mercat Cross ~ Part II

    The mercat cross was such an integral part of town life that immigrants to other countries built a mercat cross in the town center at their new homes, particularly in Australia.

    Placed as a symbol of the burgh’s right to trade, the mercat cross was centrally located in the market place. These have existed since the 12th century, or earlier. Many that still stand are from the 16th and 17th century. There are also more elaborate examples from the Victorian era.

    In the 15th and 16th centuries, wealthy merchants also built their homes around the Mercat Cross.

    Aberdeen has more than one mercat cross, each designating what was to be sold in that area, such as the Fish Cross and the Flesh Cross.

    The shaft was usually a polygon, though some had a round shaft. Most were carved of sandstone. Each cross bore an emblem at the apex, including heraldic beasts, armorial bearings, and sundials, and Crucifix crosses.

    Over 100 Mercat Crosses are still standing in Scotland. Tomorrow, April Highland Events will be posted, then a listing of those crosses begins…

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