Culture

SCOT sponsors or participates in the following activities each year:

Burns Supper

click on a photo to enlarge

Who was Robert Burns and why all the fussRobert Burns (1759-1796) is one of the most famous characters in Scottish cultural history. His importance is immense, not only in terms of his fascinating story and his work……but as a living tradition, carried from generation to generation throughout the World. Everyone, everywhere, who joins in the celebration of Scotland, Scottish Heritage or Scottish Culture, will witness references to Robert Burns. [More]


Whisky Tastings


On a cold winter’s night each year, SCOT provides an opportunity to warm one’s soul by sampling several expressions of Scotch Whisky.  Our annual Tasting Events typically include dinner and a tasting of five or six different single malt (or cask-strength) whiskies and have been held at many different venues around the Triangle area, including Tir Na Nog, Connolly’s, and Hi5.   What started out as a simple gathering of friends has evolved into a multi-media educational—and fun-filled-- experience of the biology, chemistry, etymology, geography, and history of Single malt Scotch whisky—the “water of life”.

click on photo to enlarge


We look forward to sharing a dram (or two, or five) with you at our next Whisky Tasting Event.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  It is a wonderful gathering of the whole community.  The SCOT float, featuring standing stones, moves proudly down the route and is followed by enthusiastic Scottish Highland Dancers. The parade ends in Moore Square where there is more Scottish music and dancing as well as other performances, face painting, and various activities.  Often the weather is fine for this spring outing.  For more information, or to ride on the float in your Scottish regalia contact Carolyn Graf cmcdgraf@aol.com or Amy Mooney Danceramy@aol.com.

click on a photo to enlarge

Cary Indoor Competitions

SCOT’s mission is to promote the culture of Scotland and one of our most prominent ways of accomplishing this is by hosting annual competitions in Highland Dancing and Piping every spring in late March or early April.  While local teachers provide excellent training for these Scottish Arts, the best way to challenge these skills is in competition against others.  Each spring, dancers and pipers come from all over the East coast to compete in dancing and piping before certificated judges. 

click on a photo to enlarge

The dance competition is one of the largest in the Southeast and is well attended by many Championship dancers.  SCOT, along with help from the local dance schools, supports this competition which includes contests for dancers including beginners, novice and intermediate dancers as well as Premier dancers who compete at the highest level.    Auxiliary dance activities connected with the Cary Indoor Competition include used costume sales, homemade food, a dance workshop and more.

The piping competition, sanctioned by the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association (http://www.euspba.org/), continues to grow each year and attracts pipers of all ages and abilities.


Tartan Day

SCOT sponsors activities such as the Bonnie Knees contest and the performances by the NC State University Pipes and Drums at the Raleigh area celebration on Tartan Day weekend at the NC Renaissance Faire each year.  Here is a little history lesson!

Six years after the Battle of Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce, commissioned the abbot of the Abbey of Arbroath to write a petition to the Pope to intercede with England and recognize Scotland as a sovereign country.  The Declaration was signed by 100 nobles on April 6th, 1320.   (It is of significance that it was not signed by Robert the Bruce, probably since he was exiled from the church at that time).  Eight years after it was sent to the Pope the treaty of Northampton was signed by Edward III, finally acknowledging Scotland as an independent country and Robert the Bruce as its king, though he has always been referred to as King of Scots, not King of Scotland.  The Declaration was the first of its kind marking a separation of one country from the rule of another.

The Declaration, which was the first of its kind, was one of several documents used by Thomas Jefferson in his creation of the U.S. Declaration of Independence centuries later.

One of the more famous quotes from the Declaration is the ending line, “for so long as a hundred of us are left alive, we will yield in no way to foreign dominion.  We fight not for glory nor for wealth nor honours; but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life.”

Canada was one of the first nations to choose April 6th as Tartan Day, to give people of Scottish Heritage a special day to celebrate that heritage.  The U.S. Senate set up April 6th as Tartan Day in 1998 with Resolution 155 sponsored by Trent Lott.  On March 10th 2005, Resolution 41, co-sponsored by NC Representative Mike McIntyre, reiterated the date of April 6th as Tartan Day, in the House of Representatives.   President G. W. Bush signed a proclamation declaring April 6th as Tartan Day in early April of 2008. 

Though the Tartan Day booth is not a genealogy information center, people are attracted to it to learn anything from where their names are found in Scotland, the tartan they can wear, a bit of Scottish history, sometimes information about their clan and/or district, and how to get in touch with someone to help get them further along the path of Scottish identity.  The booth also has some information on Irish names, families, and tartans, as well as a bit of Welsh.  Even an English family name can be researched for origin.  Fledgling purveyors of information are more than welcome to hang out in the booth to also learn how to help find people's heritage - a very rewarding experience.

May Tea Is an Elegant Affair

If there is one thing SCOT members can do, it is put on a proper Scottish Tea!  About every two years, a group of SCOT members transforms a church Fellowship Hall into a cozy Scottish Tea Room.  There are tartan and lace covered tables, dainty centerpieces, big thistles on the wall, and a vast collection of tea pots kept filled with a variety of steaming teas by our own Tea Masters.  There are scrumptious sweet and savory items to enjoy with the tea:  tea sandwiches, Scotch eggs, scones, shortbreads, lemon tarts, and Empire biscuits, all home-made and beautifully arranged by talented SCOT bakers.  Traditionally, each attendee brings a favorite tea cup and saucer and many enjoy an opportunity to wear a dressy hat.  There is usually a tea-related theme to the afternoon such as tea services, tea linens, tea recipe books, or Scottish pottery.  The Tea is an inter-generational event and all are welcome!     

click on a photo to enlarge

The SCOT Golf Classic

Golf was invented in Scotland, so it is only appropriate that SCOT holds an annual golf tournament!  Since its inception in 2004, the SCOT Golf Classic has been played each June in a Captain’s Choice format that is friendly to golfers of all levels and ages.  Three different courses in the Triangle have hosted the Classic:  The Crossings at Grove Park, Crooked Creek Golf Course, and Prestonwood Country Club.  The first year, eight intrepid golfers took to the course for a rollicking round of golf with Mark Johnston and Buddy Tapp earning titles as the first SCOT Golf Classic Champions.  Sadly, Mark Johnston died that year, and the Classic was changed to the SCOT Mark Johnston Golf Classic in memory of Mark and his love for the game.  The Classic is open to anyone, both SCOT members and non-members, and there are prizes galore, including: Champion team, Longest drive (men’s and women’s), Closest to the Pin (men’s and women’s), Best Scottish Attire, Most Lost Balls, Most Gross Score, and others!

click on a photo to enlarge

SCOT Family Barbecue

SCOT hosts a Family Barbecue each year following the SCOT Mark Johnston Golf Classic.  This event is held in a SCOT member’s home, rain or shine, and rotates to different areas of the Triangle.  The barbecue is open to all SCOT members, their families and their guests.  Food choices include barbecue, fried chicken, vegetables, all the fixings, and desserts.  But most importantly, Chuck Mooney, from the Mooney/Johnston Clan, prepares the most delicious ribs using his brother-in-law, Mark Johnston’s, famous rib recipe!  Yummm! 

click on a photo to enlarge

The SCOT Booth

With its bright red tent and castle battlements, the SCOT Booth is a welcome sight at Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.  For SCOT members, it is a home base where you can leave your cooler and packages as you wander MacCrea’s Meadow, taking in the colors and sounds of the games.  For non-members, it is an information booth to look up your tartan or learn about Scottish Culture.  It is also a place to attract new members who may not know about our organization.  We are always looking for friendly people who would like to spend an hour or two in the shade and help “man” the booth.  This involves greeting people who stop by and chatting with them (or listening to them chat) about Scottish “stuff” and enthusiastically explaining SCOT. For information about the booth or to volunteer, contact Carolyn Graf cmcdgraf@aol.com.  We occasionally set up the booth at other games so look for the bright red and yellow SCOT banner.

click on a photo to enlarge

SCOT Family Ceilidh

Ceilidh (pronounced Kay’-lee) is a Gaelic word that means different things in different areas of Scotland and Ireland.  Originally meaning a “visit”, in its simplest form, a ceilidh is a social gathering usually involving music and dancing.  SCOT has a tradition of offering periodic free or low-cost Family Ceilidhs where we bring our families and friends to participate in lively and informal dancing, stories, jokes, songs and skits involving lots of surprises and lots of fun.  Keep your eyes open for the next SCOT Family Ceilidh, polish your “party piece”, call your friends and plan to make some new ones as you spend the evening enjoying laughter and fellowship!