Gaelic Festivals

by Blair Foy
Celtic crosses are featured throughout Gaelic communities.

Celtic crosses are featured throughout Gaelic communities.

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Centuries ago, Irish and Scottish communities spoke the Celtic language known as Gaelic. Today, countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Canada honor their Gaelic roots with festivals that celebrate this heritage.

Royal National Mod

Originating in 1891, Scotland's Royal National Mod celebrates the country's Gaelic heritage, language and music. Hosted by The Highland Association, the festival offers competition performances of Highland dancing, Gaelic music and singing, drama and literature. As a country-wide festival, the Royal National Mod is meant as a platform to promote Gaelic heritage and culture throughout Scotland as well as internationally. With Her Majesty The Queen as the Patron of the Royal National Mod, the event has a high level of prestige throughout the United Kingdom.

Sherbrooke Village Gaelic Heritage Days

Founded in 1815, the settlement of Sherbrooke in Nova Scotia developed as a community that supported itself through farming, the timber business and fishing. In the early 1860s gold was discovered and Sherbrooke transformed into a mining town for the next 20 years. In 1969, the Sherbrooke Village Restoration was created to return the village to the life and times of the late 1800s. Each year, this history is celebrated with the Sherbrooke Village Gaelic/Scottish Heritage Days. During the festival, village guests can experience what Gaelic life was like in Nova Scotia by practicing the process of wool spinning, learning Gaelic and participating in a milling frolic.

National Celtic Festival

Held in Portarlington, Australia, the National Celtic Festival features music from seven Celtic areas that include Brittany, Cornwall, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Galicia & Asturias, and the Isle of Man. During the festival, attendees can partake in workshops where they learn to play Celtic music, perform Irish step dancing or recite Gaelic poetry. In addition to the workshops, the festival includes multiple Celtic dance performances that audiences can enjoy.

Gaelic Weekend

Located in Cape Brenton, Nova Scotia, Gaelic College hosts an annual Gaelic Weekend. This three-day event plunges guests into Gaelic life with Total Immersion Plus workshops. These courses can accommodate adult students ranging from beginners to advanced learners. During these sessions, participants learn the Gaelic language, practice storytelling and learn traditional Gaelic songs. On Saturday evening, the college hosts a Ceilidh, or a Gaelic social gathering, and a milling frolic.

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