The Antigonish Highland Society’s mission is to embrace the Scottish and Gaelic culture. This is done through a variety of community events held each year. The society hosts a Robbie Burn’s Night, St. Andrew’s Night, Tartan Day Celebration, a new addition called Highland Heritage Week as well as the famously know Antigonish Highland Games.
St. Andrew’s Day
St. Andrew is Scotland’s Patron Saint. On November 30th of each year, St. Andrew’s day is celebrated in Scotland and across the world. Saint Andrew was an agile and hardy Galilean fisherman whose name means Strong. As Scotland slowly became a nation it needed a national symbol to rally round and motivate the country. Saint Andrew was an inspired choice and the early Picts and Scots modelled themselves on Saint Andrew. The Antigonish Highland Society celebrates annually with a Haggis dinner with some toasts and tunes!
Robert Burns Day
On January 25th, we pay tribute to Robert Burns, Scotland’s own National Bard. It is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, the author of many Scots poems. Scottish poet. Robert Burns is born on January 25, 1759. The day is still celebrated across the world, with high-spirited “Robert Burns Night” feasts, featuring haggis and other Scottish delicacies, as well as enthusiastic drinking, toasting, and speechmaking. The Antigonish Highland Society hosts an annual celebration in January to celebrate Robert Burns.
April 6th is National Tartan Day. It is celebrated on April 6 because it is the anniversary of the signing of Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, the Scottish declaration of independence. Tartan Day originated in Canada in the mid-1980s, where just over 15% of the population is of Scottish descent. It serves as a day for people of the Scottish diaspora to celebrate their heritage. ‘Tartan’ refers to the woolen fabric woven in squares and crisscrossing lines, traditionally worn by members of the Scottish clans, mostly in the form of a kilt.
The Antigonish Highland Society is partnering with Candid Brewing Company in Antigonish to celebrate Tartan Day on Wednesday, April 6th from 6PM to 9PM. There will be live music as well as food & drink services. Tickets are $10 (can be purchased in advance or at the door). Hope to see everyone and their best tartan out to celebrate!
For more information check out our Facebook Event:
Antigonish Highland Games
The Antigonish Highland Games is a signature event of the Antigonish Highland Society. The Highland Games was held on October 16th, 1863. There is evidence a highland games was hosted informally, in Antigonish, before 1863. Events included foot races, piping, the Highland Fling competition, as well as traditional Scottish heavy events. In 1868, the competitions were expanded to include hurdle races, archery, and the reel and sword dances. The Games are a tremendous tribute to the pioneers who started the 1863 event and those who carry that legacy. Currently, the games are held in early July in Antigonish at Columbus Field. This year, the Antigonish Highland Games will be held July 3rd to July 10th with various events such as Highland Dancing, Piping & Drumming, Road Races, Elite Mile, Scottish Heavy Events, Tug-of-War, Cape George Bike Race, Bus Tour, Street Parade & Fair, Live Entertainment and more!
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Highland Heritage Week
The COVID-19 Pandemic cancelled the Antigonish Highland Games in 2021, the Antigonish Highland Society created a Highland Heritage Week, similar to the Games but with smaller events scheduled throughout Antigonish to celebrate our Scottish culture. These events included opening mass, Keppoch Hike, Culloden Memorial Visit, Airing of the Concert Under the Stars 2019, Drive in Movie, Kilted Golf as well as many live performances around the Town of Antigonish. Stay tuned for information regarding Highland Heritage Week this upcoming summer!