Beannachdan na fèille gam chàirdean an Alba air an latha sònraichte seo!
This is a day of national pride for the Scots, or it should be. It surprises me that St. Andrew’s day is not given the proper, official treatment it deserves — or am I? As a cog in the machine that is the ‘United Kingdom’ still, how can Scotland claim a day completely for itself, its citizens and its diaspora? A day of national pride is a dangerous thing in a union. However, I would say that on this particular St. Andrew’s day, more Scots are thinking of independence, with the notion currently taking such a central position in Scottish political discourse.
I just thought I’d share my thoughts on this auspicious day. As a person of culture, a student devoted to the Gàidhlig language, literature, culture and heritage, and with a growing curiosity in Lallans too, I’m going to stress how important cultural movements are in the freeing of a nation/people. My background in Gaeilge, Yeats and the Irish literary and cultural renaissance reinforces my conviction that Scotland can have her freedom by entering the Uamh an Oir of her culture and facing the monsters of post-colonial hang-ups. For there to be true independence, the national mind and spirit of the people must be set as free as possible from the shackles of colonialism. Of course, this is a very idealistic proposition. Freedom hasn’t really happened fully in Ireland yet; we’re still enslaved because we haven’t dealt with our collective/native unconscious mind; we still repress the Gaelic side to our nature. Gaeilge is one of those creatures disfigured by colonialism that disgusts most people — they would rather fight her back into the cave and curse her to eternal darkness. The thing is, neglected parts of the self rise up and revolt in nasty ways and come in many guises, sectarianism being one.
I truly believe that a renaissance and promotion of Scottish culture and heritage is needed, and I’m not alone in my conviction. Hugh MacDiarmid for one clung to this belief passionately. The language movement is already beginning; from what I can see, the Scots are doing really well in their efforts for the new promotion and preservation of their languages, culture and heritage — Tobar an Dualchais is something that comes strongly to mind here. This centenary year of Somhairle MacGill-Eain’s birth has proven to be a point of acceleration towards this ideal; wouldn’t it be fitting to carry the burning torch of this year’s success into the next, lighting the way for future possibilities?