Join us for a wee dram! All proceeds go to the Scots’ Charitable Scholarship fund. Click to learn more & view flyer. Special thanks to The Haven! If you are interested in attending please PM Karen Campbell Mahoney in Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year on January 25th, Scots around the world participate in a magnificent feast called a “Burns Supper,” celebrating the life and poetry of the nation’s poet, Robert Burns, on his birthday. The bard was born on January 25, 1759, 262 years ago. This year, virtual celebrations can be found everywhere you look, making it easier than ever before to celebrate Burns at home (Burns Night In, if you will).
Robert Burns is a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish diaspora around the world. He is also regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism. Did you know there are more statues dedicated to Robert Burns than any other secular figure in the world?
Many would recognize the Burns poem “Auld Lang Syne,” which is sung across the globe to ring in the New Year. Other popular Burns poems include, “A Red, Red Rose,” “Tam O’Shanter,” and “A Mans a Man for A’ That.”
If you would like to celebrate the the life of Robert Burns and host your own Burns Supper, you can find a great how-to guide here and recipes here. While this year’s Burns Supper may look different due to the pandemic, you can still gather with friends virtually, eat a meal together, and take turns reciting your favorite Burns poems or songs. You can even learn a few traditional Scottish dances virtually thanks to our friends at the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Boston Branch, who are hosting an evening of dance with a Burns Night theme on Monday, January 25, 2021 from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST. Send an inquiry note to: email@example.com.
In a typical year, a Burns Supper usually takes the following format:
- To begin, the guests are piped into the venue, followed by the “Selkirk Grace.”
- Next, the haggis is piped in and the host performs “Address to a Haggis.” As the poem wraps, everyone toasts to the haggis and the main meal is served, followed by dessert. If you don’t have access to haggis, you can serve lamb, steak pie, or a vegetarian alternative.
- After the meal, the host typically recites a well known Burns poem, followed by the “Immortal Memory,” the main tribute speech to Burns. Next up is a tongue in cheek speech written in advance called the “Toast to the Lassies,” followed by a similarly jokey retort, “Reply to the Toast to the Lassies.” After the meal and toasts is a Ceilidh, a series of Scottish dances.
- To close the Burns Supper, give thanks to all who attended and participated, and together sing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Cheers to Robert Burns! Please let us know how you plan to celebrate in the comments!
As we think back on 2020, we wanted to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for each of our members and friends of the Society. None of us could have imagined what 2020 had in store for us all. While many of our projects had to be put on hold, we remained true to our mission of Scots helping Scots and used the extraordinary circumstances we were presented with as an opportunity to reset our compass. By refocusing our organizational goals, we were able to accomplish quite a bit, despite the many challenges we all faced. Looking back, we have much to be proud of.
Highlights of our year include:
- We made a sizable donation made to Masks for Scotland, assisting their efforts to provide PPE to front-line health care workers.
- We contributed to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s appeal for donations for PPE for the Commonwealth’s front-line workers.
- Our annual scholarship program went entirely virtual and provided $77,000 to 39 college students of Scottish descent who reside in the New England area.
- We assisted in the Save Our Scotland appeal by the National Trust of Scotland and, in the process, arranged an affinity program with the National Trust to offer 15% discounts to National Trust membership for members of the Scots’ Charitable Society.
All of these contributions were in addition to our regular relief activity for Scots in the area in need.
In addition, we moved all of our meetings to virtual platforms, unveiled a new logo, and even managed to celebrate St. Andrew via an interview with a well-known Scottish storyteller, David Campbell, which was then shared with our members.
Reflecting on the year also lends itself to reflecting on traditions and some ways in which we can adapt them for our current situation. Hogmanay, the Scots word for the last day of the year, is typically a time to welcome friends and strangers with warm hospitality into your home. While social distancing prevents us from celebrating in typical fashion this year, many are still gathering virtually.
Since ancient times, households across Scotland have welcomed strangers through their doors with the aim of bringing good fortune for the year ahead. This tradition, called “first footing,” stems from the Gaelic practice of “qualtagh.” Traditionally, the first footer should be someone who was not already in the house when midnight struck – hence a Scottish party tradition of having one guest leave just before the bells so they can knock on the door as the new year begins. They usually come bearing gifts; per tradition, they would arrive loaded with a coin, bread, salt, a lump of coal, and whisky – gifts representing all the things the new year would hopefully bring, such as prosperity, food, warmth and good cheer.
Carrying out this tradition while still being socially distant is possible! Perhaps have a surprise guest drop in on your virtual gathering at midnight. Your virtual first footer could even take advantage of liquor delivery services and have a wee dram delivered to the organizers.
Looking ahead, we are excited to continue our efforts as Scots helping Scots and send our best wishes to you and your families. Happy Hogmanay!
Saint Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland, is celebrated today, November 30th. Who is Saint Andrew? He was a Galilean fisherman and one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, believed to have been born between 5AD and 10AD. But, funny enough, despite being Scotland’s Patron Saint, he was never believed to have stepped foot in Scotland!
There are many legends as to why St. Andrew became the Patron Saint of Scotland, but one tale is that in the 9th Century, as King Angus was preparing to battle the English, the king dreamt St. Andrew visited him and promised him victory. On the day of the battle an X, the symbol of St. Andrew, appeared in the sky, assuring King Angus that he would win the battle. This X went on to become a part of the Scottish flag.
Traditionally, St. Andrew’s day is celebrated with a ceilidh and feast, but this year things look a little different for many Scots and those of Scottish descent. Instead, many of us will stay home and prepare a traditional meal, or order one from our favorite Scottish pubs and toast to St. Andrew.
To learn more about St. Andrew, click here!
And if you want to try to prepare your own feast, a few favorite recipes can be found linked below!
Also, a quick reminder to our members, if you haven’t done so recently please check your e-mail for a special St. Andrew’s message!
Fan of the Outlander book series? Join Diana Gabaldon and the Northern Celtic Heritage Society for virtual tea on Saturday, October 3rd from 2 PM – 3:30 PM MST. All proceeds will benefit the Northern Arizona Celtic Heritage Society’s scholarship program. To date over $120,000 has been given to individuals and groups within the society to promote, present, and preserve Celtic heritage and culture.
View more details here.
In May of 2021, the joint Scholarship Committee of the Scots’ Charitable Society and the Woman’s Auxiliary concluded their review of candidates for undergraduate scholarships for the academic year 2021 – 2022. We are pleased to announce that scholarships were awarded to 32 candidates who submitted their completed applications and attended (via Zoom) interviews with the Committee. The total amount given by the two organizations was $93,000. Normally, these awards would be presented at our annual awards ceremony, but unfortunately that ceremony had to be cancelled this year due to the COVID Pandemic. Still, we want to publicly honor those students who have demonstrated scholarship, writing ability, and community service and to wish them well in their future studies.
In addition to the core scholarships, the committee awarded a number of special, privately-funded awards in specific fields: The MacPherson Award for an engineering student, the Lockhart Award for a student athlete, the McCall-Nichol Award for the best essay, the MacLeod Award for a student in the creative or performing arts, and the Dennis Campbell Award. We are proud to be able to support these students from schools as near as the University of Massachusetts and as far away as Edinburgh University.
Founded in 1657, the Scots’ Charitable Society is the oldest secular charitable organization in the Western Hemisphere, and was originally charged with providing aid to fellow Scots in the Massachusetts Bay Colony who were indigent or in poor health. As the social safety net expanded, the number of such needy Scots and descendants of Scots declined, and the Society changed its primary focus and in 1942 began providing undergraduate scholarships to students of Scottish descent living in the six New England states.
The Woman’s Auxiliary Board of the Scots’ Charitable Society was founded in 1876 to aid in the work of the Scots’ Charitable Society. Originally, its members directed the domestic affairs of the Scots’ Temporary Home located on Camden Street in Boston. The home was established “for the purpose of giving shelter to our needy countrymen, who may be either in distress or perplexity. Where they may remain for a short time before proceeding on their journey or obtaining situations here.” It is noteworthy that in 1882, the Superintendent of the home was John Quincy Adams II with assistance from his wife, Frances. Like the Scots’ Charitable Society, the organization focused on relief given to women and children of Scottish descent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; but now the Woman’s Auxiliary provides scholarships to students of Scottish descent in the six New England states.
Both organizations welcome new members intent on continuing the tradition of Scots helping Scots.
Application forms for the 2022 – 2023 school year will be posted on the Society’s web site, https://scots-charitable.org in January, 2022.
In celebration of National Burger Day and to benefit Frontline Foods, The Haven’s Jason Waddleton has teamed with Outlander’s Sam Heughan to create the Jacobite burger for The Burger Showdown. The burger with the most votes and orders will be deemed the winner.
Eager to give the Jacobite burger a try? It is only available via UberEats!
April 19, 2020 will mark the 245th Anniversary of the start of the American Revolutionary War.
The battles of Lexington and Concord which triggered the War of Independence and was a brewing response to the Boston Massacre, taxation without representation, and other hardships such as the Sugar Act, Stamp Act and Townshend Acts imposed by Great Britain. These events generated fierce resentment in the eyes of the colonists.
The “story” behind the story.
More than a century before the American Revolution, the English Civil War raged from 1642 -1651. The final battles began in 1650 Charles (Stewart) II sent his Royalist army led by David Leslie to invade England comprised mostly of Scottish highlanders determined to regain the throne. In a disastrous campaign Leslie and his army were defeated by Oliver Cromwell’s Covenanter army at the Battles of Dunbar, Scotland and Worcester, England. Ultimately, the losses forced Charles II to escape to the continent and English Civil War had ended.
As a result of this failed campaign 15,000 Scots were taken prisoner where many died in captivity. Cromwell deported 470 Scottish prisoners as indentured servants to Boston (arriving in Charlestown and Lynn MA). Upon arrival, the majority of these were sent to work as laborers at the Saugus and Braintree Ironworks and a smaller contingent was sent to work at the sawmills in Oyster River New Hampshire, Kittery and Berwick Maine.
In January 1657, 28 Scots who had fulfilled their time as indentured servants came together to form the Scots Charitable Society. Their purpose, to raise funds to help release fellow former Scottish prisoners of war from servitude and to provide charitable support for Scottish families.
In the years that followed, the descendants of the Scottish prisoners grew, prospered and merged into colonial society. The Scots played a prominent role in defending the colonies against marauding Indians and fought the Indians in King Philip’s War. During the French & Indian War (1754-1763) which pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, Scots allied with the British in defense of the colonies. Then, fought against the British in the Revolutionary War.
On April 18, 1775, one day before the outbreak of the battle on the Lexington Common, a meeting was held at Munroe Tavern, a locally gathering place for colonials, owned by William Munroe, an Orderly Sergeant serving under Capt. John Parker, and a great grandson of the original William Monroe who was a transported prisoner of war after his capture at the Battle of Worcester.
In the predawn hours of April 19, 1775, Capt. Parker assembled his militia in response to the news General Gage had dispatched 800 British Regulars to march toward Lexington on their way to Concord to seize a large stockpile of gunpowder and ammunition. As the morning mist gave way to the light of dawn, 77 minutemen bravely stood facing well-trained British soldiers on the Lexington common. Among these minutemen were 32 patriots of Scottish descent. Along with William Munroe, others may have also been the grandsons and great grandsons of the Scottish prisoners of war taken a century earlier at the Battles of Dunbar and Worcester.