Celtic festivals are a lot of fun, so I always try to go when one pops up near me. Tartan Day South, a Columbia-area Celtic festival, hosted its fourth and final day of celebrations at the Historic Columbia Speedway-Cayce on Saturday, April 6. I arrived early enough to park in the front row and was admitted shortly before everyone finished opening.
After grabbing a rather American egg sandwich and coffee (I've done haggis before, no real reason to do that again), I watched the field setup from the aluminum bleachers.
Due to a difficult history between the Scots (whose heritage dominates most Celtic festivals) and the British, one of the centerpieces to Celtic festivities is the throwing of stones, bales and other weighted items. Once the food was downed, I walked the booths.
A buddy who saw my checkin at the festival texted me about his own Scottish history. Celtic festivals are filled with family line booths tracing lineages back centuries through Ireland, Scotland and, sometimes, England.
In addition to the Scottish booths, a number of other vendors were onsite selling wares, several of whom have no direct connection with anything Celtic, which interestingly enough is fitting for the tent-covered grounds and the homey feel of it all. From photography to art and blacksmithing to Australian clothing and gear, they provided options in addition to the traditional and stylized Celtic wear such as kilts, cloaks and tartan neckties.
While there, visitors could also gear up and fight swords, tour a variety of British autos in a nearby car show and other booths. If you've never been, it's worth the go!
My own family is very Scottish. We came in two waves in the early and late 1800's, but while I enjoy talking and thinking about where my ancestors come from, I also believe that my strengths come not from my blood but from how I was raised. My mom poured into me and taught me how to live, built my character and instilled the values that drive my decisions. That means what makes me strong and able comes from ideas, and ideas can grow and change.
Wherever you come from, whatever flaws you fight, whatever world you seek -- it won't come from the blood in your veins but the truths in your mind and heart. If you want a better life, don't blame your blood. Change how you think!