Havre de Grace Winter Celtic Festival
Havre de Grace Winter Celtic Festival
Just as every culture has a custom or tradition that brings honor to individual families, Scotland has the Highland Games for this reason. It’s believed that the concept of original events were brought to the mainland along with Irish immigrants in 4th and 5th centuries, who are said to have had the tradition since 2000 BC. Of course customs evolved over the years leaving today’s traditions including, but not limited to: bagpiping, Scottish dance, track events, fiddling, harp music, and heavy events.
An example of Highland Games evolution, is that of strength and agility. In 1040 BC Malcolm Canmore, the King of Scotland at the time, implemented strength and agility events as a way to seek out the sturdiest of men for soldiers and long distance messengers. In popular culture movies, such as Maid of Honor and Brave, it’s shown how this tradition is used to prove a man’s worthiness to marry into a family as well.
While athletes may be the physical center of Highland Games, bagpipers, dancers, and other musicians can also significantly honor their clans, or families, by demonstrating premier talent.
At first glance, any Highland Games may seem like a conventional collection of competitions, but a closer look will prove to show family representatives doing their best to bring pride and honor to their clans. Thus, the center of Highland Games is, in fact, clans, and is very much a family affair.
Without a doubt the Caber Toss is the most iconic of the Highland Games heavy events. How could it not be? Who easily forgets people individually picking up a telephone pole-looking log and throwing it up and over in the air? The name Caber, pronounced like kay-ber, is Scottish Gaelic for pole. The exact origins of this event is unknown. Many theories include proving to be the best whether in military circumstances or pitting clans against each other to settle feuds. A perfect toss is when the thrower tosses the end in their hands up and over, landing perfectly 180 degrees in front of them, identified by the judge’s arms raised straight into the air like an American football touchdown.
The second most iconic events include those of height. Weight Over Bar and Sheaf are said to be of military and/or farm origins. These are judged by vertical distance and if the implement is tossed over the set bar and between the uprights.
WEIGHT OVER BAR
A metal implement with a handle. Most toss it from a standing position, while some throw with a side sling or spinning approach. Women’s weights can be as much as 28 pounds and men’s can be as much as 56 pounds.
A simulated pile of hay, a burlap bag, is tossed with a pitchfork over the same bar used for Weight for Height. Women’s Sheaf can be as much as 12 pounds and men’s can be as much as 20 pounds.
Last but not least are the distance events including two versions, heavy and light, of Scottish Hammer Toss, Weight for Distance, and Stones.
The feet are fixed and may not move until release, unlike the olympic hammer. The Hammer itself is a metal weight at the end of a fixed handle, resembling a mace. Women’s Hammers are 12 and 16 pounds, and the men’s are 16 and 22 pounds.
A metal ball with a chain and handle is this event’s implement. Usually spun around a few times before being released, women’s implements are 14 and 28 pounds, while men’s weights are 28 and 42 or 56 pounds depending on the competition class.
Just like Shot Put except with irregularly shaped and weighted river stones. The heavy, Braemar, named for Highland Games in Braemar, Scotland, most notably known as the Royal Games where the Royal Family attends. The Queen shakes the athlete’s hands.
Athletes compete in every event. Their placement in those events add up to overall points, by which the aggregate is determined.
Due to smaller field and safety concerns, there will be 6 events: Caber, WOB, Sheaf, Heavy Weight for Distance, Heavy Hammer, and Braemar Stone.
Athletic fee ($30) includes water, sweatshirt, and hot lunch.
athletes limited, classes depend on registrations.
SATURDAY: Men's Open, Women's Open, Men's Masters 40+
SUNDAY: Women's Masters 40+, Novice