Editorial – The Scottish Banner Says….

January – 2022 (Vol. 45, Number 07)

Proud Scot, photographer and mountain guide Tristan Cameron Harper.

The Banner Says…

Celebrating the Stories of Scotland

Scots have long been known for telling a good story. Storytelling is one of Scotland’s oldest and most ancient artforms, telling a story was a way of handing down history, education, culture and of course entertainment. Scotland’s story has been woven by hundreds of years of stories, myths, legends and tales which became such an important part of human communication.

The tradition of oral history has evolved for many hundreds of years in Scotland, from the Highlands to the lowlands and islands, each with its own unique story and tradition and left as a gift to us today from our ancestors.

Scotland’s story heritage

If we go back in Scotland’s history, storytellers were often affiliated with the ‘elite classes’ of society and advisors to rulers and even clan chiefs. Scottish clan chiefs would have a Shennachie (stemming from the Irish word senchae for historian or storyteller), these individuals would assist the chief with clan history, genealogy and tradition and were an important part of keeping the clan story alive.

In Scotland different rulers would destroy anything from the previous ruling elite. Literature and historical material was burned and replaced with items by the new rulers nearly wiping out the previous history, but thankfully, some literature was kept and hidden by storytellers. Storytellers became very important individuals, as they told the history of their people and kept their story alive and passed on.

In more recent times Scotland’s stories have seen a renewed interest. Today in Edinburgh for example you will find the world’s first purpose built modern centre for live storytelling. I have visited The Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile a couple of times and been impressed with how this venue celebrates and promotes Scotland’s story heritage year-round for people of all walks of life, ages and backgrounds.

In this issue

Tristan Cameron Harper loves everything about Scotland, especially the incredible outdoors. Tristan’s passion for Scotland’s natural beauty has literally seen him climb to some amazing heights and also he has had some great opportunities in life such as being a professional hockey player, becoming Mr Scotland and quite a bit of TV and social media work. However, it is his love of Scotland that he now loves to share with others that seems to be his favourite place to be.

If you have spent any time in Scotland during winter, you will well know how the days can be short and darkness takes over quite early. Taking in some of Scotland’s historic sites under the cover of darkness can really be a new experience and allows visitors to see them in a whole new way. Sometimes historic landscapes can tell a different story in the dark and this month we look at this notion and realise night vision is something to behold.

The thistle is one of Scotland’s most recognisable symbols, as you may expect considering it is also the national flower of Scotland. While some may not realise there are several varieties of thistles and they have been used on Scottish money, in heraldry and in poetry and song just to name a few. For a small resilient flower, it has played a big part in the Scottish story and become a national icon.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022

As we look to start a new year January also happens to be the start of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, a whole year of events that tells the tales of the nation. Book festivals, musical journeys, favourite cartoon characters and fresh takes on our culture and heritage, will form part of a dazzling programme of events to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 in recognition of the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. Every nation has its stories to tell, and Scotland has a particularly rich heritage of stories and storytelling to showcase and celebrate.

Of course, many this month will be finding ways to celebrate one of Scotland’s most popular storytellers. Robert Burns poems, stories and songs will be celebrated across the world this month. Burns Night is a hugely important part of Scottish culture, celebrating the bard and his spirit of kindness, appreciation for the natural world and togetherness, especially during these difficult times.

Perhaps the pandemic has shown us that storytelling and celebrating Scotland’s rich oral history tradition has never been more important and that certainly is a story to be proud of.

Do you have a favourite Scottish story, tradition or tale?  Share your story with us! Do you have you any comments from the content in this month’s edition? Share your story with us by email, post, social media or at: www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us

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