Celebrating a Scottish tradition


    By Mark Montie

    A man in full Scottish dress slices open with his 16-inch dirk a sheep stomach holding a meat-loaf-like entr?e called haggis. The smell of liver, mutton and onions fill the room.

    When the man finishes reciting the “Address to the Haggis,” the pipe major tastes the dish and pronounces it fit to eat.

    This traditional Scottish ceremony will be the center of the annual spring ceilidh (kay-lee) 7 p.m. Saturday March 22 at 439 W. 100 South in Payson.

    They don”t use the sheep stomach or the mutton anymore, but the Payson Scottish Association tries to stay close to old highland tradition.

    Ceilidh is a Gaelic word meaning a social visit.

    Traditionally, in highland Scottish villages a ceilidh house provided a place where the men and lads of a town could gather.

    The “fear an tigh” (man of the house) started the evening by telling a story. Riddles, discussion and singing then followed.

    The Payson Scottish Association has been putting on this event for nearly 20 years.

    Helen Scott of Provo helped found the association.

    “It was to enrich and remind us of some of the fun things they do in Scotland,” she said.

    The idea for a Scottish association started with Jerry Chatwin, the band teacher at Payson High School, Scott said.

    Chatwin wanted to do something unique with his students so he started a bagpipe band at the high school, Scott said.

    The Payson Scottish Association was created soon after. Scott was the president of the association for 18 years.

    “I always have enjoyed a real good challenge,” she said.

    This year at the ceilidh, Arnold and Sydney Young will renew their wedding vows in a traditional Scottish ceremony.

    In Scottish tradition, the groom offers the bride a side knife and a bag of wheat with a vow to protect and provide for the home.

    The bride gives him a Bible and something she has made with the promise to keep the home spiritual and beautiful. Then their hands are joined under the groom”s tartan plaid.

    Sydney Young, a member of the board of directors of the association said the ceilidh shows the closeness of the traditional Scottish society.

    “It wasn”t a materialistic society,” she said. “They were very careful to take care of each other.”

    Also at the ceilidh will be Scottish music and dancing.

    James Frazee, 22, Young”s son, and a member of BYU”s folk dance ensemble, will perform a traditional Scottish dance at the ceilidh.

    Finally, the association will name a new chieftain at Saturday”s event. Scott will be the first woman chieftain of the association.

    Traditionally, Scottish clan chieftains were always men.

    “She”s been a driving force behind the Scottish Association here in Payson,” said Colleen Martinson, the association”s current president.

    Tickets for the spring ceilidh are $14 and can be purchased from Colleen Martinson at 465-2933.

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