Dashing between the trees, leaping from rock to rock without so much as slowing down “swords” in hand, Cody, Guy and I. move through the forests of Grandfather Mountain to meet and fight with the “English”. This is a game the five or six of us play every year since I was 11, down in the campgrounds of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina. Our families have been going to the games for the past fourteen years! There’s Cody’s family who is primarily Irish, Guy’s family who are regrettably American, and my family who is mostly Scottish but with some Irish and Welsh blood.
The three of us camp on the mountain and go to the Scottish games and play our game, although it’s not as much a game to us as a reenactment. We find sticks to use a “swords” or “daggers” then we fight three or four other kids. Normally it’s two English brothers and Killian whose family is from Wales. So we strategize using the forest with its trees and rocks as forts and equipment. Then, we battle and assault each other.
Since I am the oldest, tallest, and purest Scot of the band, I am usually William Wallace; Cody likes to be the insane Irishman from the movie Braveheart, and Guy, who although doesn’t descend from anywhere in Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, we let him be Rob Roy or Robert the Bruce, two famous Scottish heroes. As these extraordinary heroes we reenact battles against the traitorous English. This pride in our heritage and culture draws us together. And, although they are English, it brings us closer to the brothers, Ryan and Baron.
Cultural ties can build the strongest bonds between friends. Whether you go all out like we do or just doing simple genealogy, finding out who your ancestors were fills you with a sense that you belong to something so much bigger. And there are so many societies devoted to different cultures and backgrounds. My entire family belongs to the Scottish Society of Hampton Roads and the Saint Andrews Society. Both of these organizations are Scottish related. Through these two groups we have forged many close friendships and learned so much about, not only our own relatives, but of our entire culture’s past. We are also a part, as students and teachers, of the Hampton Roads Gaelic Classes, which teaches Gaelic the language of our culture. A strong belief in your past can also make you more accepting to other cultures, which in the long run can improve the entire society of the world. If everyone began accepting other cultures there would be a lot less fighting.
I am proud of my Scottish ancestry and the spiritual feeling it gives me. Cody, Guy, Ryan, Baron, and I share this belief in cultural knowledge. Through that belief our friendship will grow and strengthen. So whether you reenact ancient wars or just do simple research or join societies, pride in your culture and your ancestors brings on a very spiritual, emotional connection with other peoples both in and out of your culture.
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