The Gaelic flag flying beneath the Canadian flag.
-by Rankin MacDonald
Inverness County Council and staff, along with Gaelic representatives Frances MacEachern and Janet MacKenzie, raised the Gaelic Flag in front of the municipal building last week to proclaim May as Gaelic Month in Nova Scotia.
Both MacKenzie and MacEachern addressed council pointing out how important the Gaelic language was and is to the culture and heritage of Nova Scotia. Events will be held all month across the province and they pointed out that Gaelic is “alive and well in 2019 in Nova Scotia.”
The following is the text of Janet MacKenzie’s presentation to council:
“Brigh Ma Bardachd: The Power of our songs, is the theme this year for Gaelic Nova Scotia Month.
I often ask people my age if there was Gaelic in their home. They cast their gaze off in the distance and a smile spread across their face, they say with warmth – oh yes, I remember all the singing and the visiting.
Gaels have composed and sang songs since thousands of years, long before time was recorded in years as we know it now.
In years past, both professional bards or the neighbour next door composed song poetry to honour the natural environment, communities lead their faith traditions, their loved ones, or even wrote songs to honour their faith.
Most importantly, they composed songs poetry as a record of their history and values before and after emigrations to the new land.
Gaels sang to pass the time, to make work go easier, whether sitting at a spinning wheel, or out in the field making hay.
A song or a prayer was always on their lips.
They sang and we continue to sing the old songs in community, in the family, or in solitude or sing along with a CD!
Singing is as natural to the Gael as breathing!
A truly vast number of Gaelic songs have been passed down from generation to generation. The words and lilt of the songs remain in the memory of many residents.
The songs were passed down by remarkable tradition bearers, whose brains it seems were hard wired to remember long songs and stories after just one session.
We call to mind a few of these tradition bearers – like Bard Malcolm Gillis, Margaree, Lauchie MacLellan, Dunvegan, Allan Ridge, Donald MacDonnell, Mabou, Seumas Watson.
We also bring to mind present day tradition bearers like – Jeff MacDonald, Mary Jane Lamond, Colin and Lily Watson, Father MacMillan, Margie Beaton, Carmen MacArthur, Joyce MacDonald, Frances McEachern, Bernard Cameron and his family, Joanne MacIntyre and her family, Ronald MacKenzie and his family, Andrew Buchanan, and there are more!
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