Highland games

Scottish games / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Highland games are events held in spring and summer in Scotland and other countries with a large Scottish diaspora, as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain aspects of the games are so well known as to have become emblematic of Scotland, such as the bagpipes, the kilt, and the heavy events, especially the caber toss. While centred on competitions in piping and drumming, dancing, and Scottish heavy athletics, the games also include entertainment and exhibits related to other aspects of Scottish and Gaelic cultures.

Opening ceremonies of 2004 Canmore Highland games

The Cowal Highland Gathering, better known as the Cowal Games, is held in Dunoon, Scotland, every August. It is the largest Highland games in the world,[note 1] attracting around 3,500 competitors and somewhere in the region of 23,000 spectators[1][2] from around the globe. Worldwide, however, it is exceeded in terms of spectators by three gatherings in the United States: the estimated 30,000[3] that attend Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival which attracts over 35,000 annual and the even larger gathering—the largest in the Northern Hemisphere[4]—that has taken place every year since 1866.[5] This event is currently held on Labor Day weekend in Pleasanton, California, and their Sesquicentennial Games held on 5–6 September 2015, attracted record crowds close to 50,000.[4]

The games are claimed to have influenced Baron Pierre de Coubertin when he was planning the revival of the Olympic Games. De Coubertin saw a display of Highland games at the Paris Exhibition of 1889.[6][note 2]