2014 will be an exciting year for any travelling festival fan.
#1 Scottish Highland Games – Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Like a true Scotsman, wearing a kilt with my family’s colours is very near and dear to my heart. And this year on September 6, it will be worn with immense pride.
This date marks the official Scottish Highland Games of 2014, which many people will be familiar with.
I’ll be making the long and arduous drive from Glasgow to Aberdeenshire in my trusted 1968 Morris convertible. There she is in the picture below.
Actually, I have quite a funny story to tell about her in a journey I made last year to the Aberdeen Tartan Festival. My fuel was running quite low, and I was in a mad rush to get to the nearest town to refill.
I’m not sure if I lost concentration for a second or if it was the early morning fog that impaired my vision, but I took a sharp bend, and somehow, before I new it, I had driven off a short edge on the side of the road and ended up nose first in a shallow swamp just below.
To be in a pickle, was to say the least. Luckily for me, I had mobile phone coverage in the area, and I was able to call my insurer RAC who provides me with special roadside coverage for classic cars.
After they came to my rescue, I was very surprised and happy to see that the damage to my beloved Morris was minimal with barely a scratch to her.
Anyway, enough of the shenanigans about that, let’s get back to the details of the festivals, shall we?
The Scottish Highland Games is an event that I try to get to every year. What could be more about getting in touch with our culture and tradition than watching a bunch of men wearing kilts and hurling unusual objects up into the air?
The games are a way of celebrating the rich culture and heritage of the of Scottish and Celtic people, and covers such activities as heavy lifting, dancing, piping and caber toss (throwing tree trunks through the air).
You can read more about what the games actually mean from a heritage point of view in my other article The Scottish Highland Games – A Tradition Worth Keeping Alive.
The games are very family orientated and provide spectators with a unique mixture of culture, sporting events, and entertainment. A must do if you haven’t already.
#2 Stonehenge Summer Solstice – Wiltshire, England
An event run by English Heritage, the Stonehenge Summer Solstice is an event to celebrate the summer solstice. People flock to this event in their thousands, some of them to worship and others to party.
Just a little word of advice, it can be a little difficult finding Stonehenge if you’re not familiar with the area, and in saying that, I’d definitely recommend using the online route planner by RAC insurance, which is an excellent planning tool for trips like this.
Just whatever you do make sure you get there early.
Because when the summer solstice takes place at approximately 5:00 am (the sun rises to coincide with the longest day of the year), you’ll find that there will already be thousands upon thousands of people already there celebrating or worshiping.
If you don’t get a good spot, you might miss the magical moment when the sun’s rays appear through Stonehenge’s rocks.
Interestingly, you will find all walks of life at this festival, from Pagan worshipers through to druids, and some other very interesting people. It’s probably not your most ideal family festival with the many revelers that are there, but it’s still definitely worth seeing at least once.
#3 St. Patrick’s Day – Dublin, Ireland
Oh St Patrick’s Day – how a long for you to return! St Paddy’s Day is one of those days where one major thing gets accomplished. Guiness. And lots of it at that. Ok, now back to what the festival really means.
Putting aside the heavy drinking that takes place, there is still a cultural story behind this festival, as Saint Patrick was the one who was accredited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. The festival is celebrated on the day Saint Patrick died.
But nowadays, it seems that the festival is more focused on celebrating everything Irish. Anything from wearing green and gold, to shamrocks and leprechauns. All business are closed on the day and many people all across Ireland and the world celebrate it.
So there you have it. Three of the most essential festivals throughout Europe that all focus on culture and heritage. Now where did I see that can of Guiness…