As a former officer and Secretary of the Clan MacFarlane Society
(USA), having hosted clan hospitality tents at Highland festivals
and as a frequent visitor to Irish and Scottish festivals, I have
witnessed militarist/rightist efforts.
There seems to be knee-jerk actions to grab on to some of
the worst fighting times between the Scottish clans, several
hundred years ago, and promote a comic book image of Scottish
clan warriors for political reasons.
There have also been several attempts to take-over some
clan societies to use them as propaganda bases for rightist
However, especially as the growth of festivals is explosive,
reaching 10 to 20,000 visitors in many festivals, this is a minor
In no way has this been involved with Celtic aspects, to
As McFarland/MacFarlane is both Irish and Scottish, I
received invitations and communications from most all festivals
In fact, until recently, there has seemed to be an anti
-Celtic wave, apparently tied to the association of Celts with
Paganism, Pagan gods, Pagan sites, Pagan symbols, etc., at all
festivals, both Scottish and Irish.
Even festivals that occurred on May 1st, or November 1st
(because of the different temperatures over America, festivals
now take place year around), reacted in horror when told that
these are traditional Celtic holidays.
Something about "Devil worship..."
Previously, Irish festivals easily admitted their Christian
(post St Patrick) basis and Scottish festivals were apparently
post King Ceann Mor/Malcolm Canmore/Malcolm III or Robert de Brus,
William Wallace, etc., but certainly not Celtic.
Celtic elements seem to be rapidly increasing at all
festivals, while militarist/rightist efforts seem to be minimalized,
in my opinion.
Lowell McFarland <[log in to unmask]>
From: CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Amy Hale
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 10:20 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: White supremacy at Festivals
I get the impression that this is a rather emerging trend, but sadly, not
too suprising. Celtic festivals, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere have
always been 'political', some more overtly than others. A few researchers
have noted in particular that Scottish American festivals (Highland Games)
draw this sort of crowd. It may be related to the militarism which
sometimes accompanies these festivals. An anthropologist I know (also an
Amy but last name suddenly escaping me) has looked at how Highland Games
have been linked to expressions of U.S. Southern identity, and have as a
result been attracting a rather unsavory element. She has written a book
about it, I'll try to get more details.
The BNP also uses Celtic motifs in constructing an idea of a 'racially pure
What interests me about all this is that 'Celtic' has been so equated with
'left-wing', alternative, peaceful etc., certainly since the 20th c. This is
so ingrained that some Celtic nationalists with whom I have worked cannot
even comprehend that there might be right wing overtones to their beliefs.
Of course, I want to make a distinction between this and assertions of
identity, language and minority rights, which I think are crucial for Celtic
peoples. I'm sure you all know the distinction I mean.
Thanks all for letting me go on. I need a bit of Celtic communication
desperately at the moment.