Nova Scotia

I love the controlled chaos of a children’s Christmas pageant. Nothing ever goes exactly how it’s supposed to, but it’s always hilarious and heart-warming. In 2011 I wrote a Gaelic nativity play for Gaelic learners, motivated by the desire to integrate more family activities into the Gaelic events calendar.

I wrote and delivered a Gaelic message (or lay sermon) for an ecumenical Gaelic church service at the Log Cabin Church in Loch Broom, Pictou County, Nova Scotia in August 2012. It explains how Gaelic speakers might want to rethink our concept of a “Gaelic family.” Although my message was directed toward Christian attendees, the secular aspect of the message may also be interesting for non-Christian readers.

Earlier this year, I helped to create and deliver a training session on Scottish Gaelic language & culture awareness for the Harbourside Area of the Nova Scotia Council of Girl Guides of Canada. This post gives a bit of the back story on that session, and makes our training materials available to readers as a free download. The materials include activities for children and fact sheets for adult leaders.

Gaels in Scotland and Nova Scotia don’t tend to know a lot about each other, unless they’ve actually visited each other’s home turf. There are a lot of similarities, but also some significant differences! Here is the second half of my top ten list with #5 through #1 of the top ten differences between Gaelic in Nova Scotia and Scotland from a Nova Scotian perspective.

Gaels in Scotland and Nova Scotia don’t tend to know a lot about each other. When they actually visit each other’s home turf, they find many similarities, but also a few surprises. So in a spirit of education and understanding, I’ve created a list of the top ten differences between Gaelic in Nova Scotia and Scotland, from a Nova Scotian perspective. Here is the first half of the list, Part One.

Sometimes you set your sights on learning a text by heart that is not repeated very often in your immediate environment. For someone who is new at learning the Scottish Gaelic language, and is of Christian belief or heritage, the sacred symbolic text of the Lord’s Prayer might seem like a natural thing to learn. I’ll explain why that isn’t necessarily a good idea, and talk about when and how to learn the prayer.

In Nova Scotia, you might have noticed that we have a Gaelic flag. The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia, in cooperation with the Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs, developed and presented a new Gaelic symbol and flag on behalf of the Gaelic community in 2008. A flag for the Gaelic community might seem odd from an “old world” Scottish perspective. The pan-Celtic flag incorporating flags of the “six Celtic nations” uses the Scottish saltire. So why does it make sense to have a separate Gaelic flag here in Nova Scotia?

May is Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia. In May 2013, Sgoil Ghàidhlig an Àrd-Bhaile, the Halifax Gaelic Society, worked together with the Halifax Public Libraries to plan a series of free public workshops on various aspects of Gaelic language and culture. Members of the Gaelic community in Halifax were asked to propose workshop presentations on topics with which they were familiar, and the various library branches selected ones to host and promote. I co-presented a workshop on Celtic Spirituality.

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