March, 2011

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 The Kirkin' o' the Tartan  March Celebrations
 St. David's Day  Know the Clans
 The Blarney Stone  Caledonian Society Officers
 Flowers of the Forest  General Meeting Minutes
 Tartan Day Celebration  Important Dates in March
 Scotland's Guardian Thistle  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

President's Message

As March of 2011 comes along we are just over the hustle and bustle of the Highland Games and Gathering and now it's time to look at our Celtic Cousins turn to celebrate "the 17th of Ireland, St. Patrick's Day!" What fun and hard work they put into the Parade and Faire. We Scots can appreciate that all too well and perhaps we can lend a hand to help them as they have done for us. So many of us share our roots in both Scotland and Ireland, so it is nice that we can get along and share the burdens too.

I want to express my sincere thanks to all of our volunteers who helped make the Games work so very well. Especially I want to thank our Games Chairman, Jason Temple and his many Area Chairs. Without these hard working people we could never begin to put on such a huge affair. Thanks also for all the folks who came out to sample our wee touch of Scottish day "at the fair." I truly hope that many of you were able to come out and enjoy yourself by meeting up with many other old friends and/or family or other members of your Clan.

I don't know about you, but days seem to be moving very fast and we are already looking at another long hot Arizona summer and then it will be time for our Holiday Pot Luck. We will be trying to fit in a few more new things to do at our meetings so be sure and check the web site often so you can join in the fun.

I wish you many lovely Spring days this month.
Jean Latimer, President

The Kirkin' o' the Tartan

Mission Del Sol Presbyterian Church has informed us that the Kirkin' O' The Tartan that is usually held in March at their facility is being rescheduled for later in the year. Lent and Easter will be their focus in the Spring. They will keep us informed when the date is decided upon--probably in the Fall.

St. David's Day
Saint David's Day (Welsh: Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant) is the feast day of St. David, the patron saint of Wales and it falls on March 1 each year. Wales is one of the Celtic Nations along with Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man. The date was chosen in remembrance of the death of St. David in 589, and has been celebrated by followers since then. The date was declared a national day within Wales in the 18th century.

Dewi Sant--St. David was born toward the end of the fifth century. He was a scion of the royal house of Ceredigion and founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin at the spot where St. David's Cathedral stand today.

Every year parades are held in Wales to commemorate St. David's Day. The largest of these is held in Cardiff. Many Welsh people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel to celebrate: the daffodil or the leek. The association between leeks and daffodils is strengthened by the fact that they have similar names in Welsh--Cenhinen (leek) and Cenhinen Pedr (daffodil). The leek symbol arises from an occasion when a troop of Welsh soldiers were able to distinguish each other from a troop of English enemy dressed in similar fashion by wearing leeks.

In 2003 in the United States, St. David's Day was recognized officially as the national day of the Welsh and on March 1 the Empire State Building was floodlit in the national colors, red, green and white. The Welsh flag features a large red dragon on a background of white and green.

The Blarney Stone

The world famous Blarney Stone is situated high up in the battlements of Blarney Castle which is located in Blarney Village. The stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland. The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in return for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn. It is believed that you can acquire the gift of eloquence by kissing the stone.

Flowers of the Forest

Former Society member Helen Ritchie Krcina passed away on February 5, 2011 at age 85. She was born in Windsor, Canada. She worked for many years before her retirement for the old Valley National Bank as a Trust Manager. Our sympathy is extended to her family.

Tartan Day Celebration

Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band

2011 Tartan Day Celebration
Saturday, March 26, 2011

Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel Ballroom

6:00 pm—Silent Auction & Cocktails
6:30 pm—Dinner & Entertainment by the Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band
and the Arizona Academy of Highland Dance

Tickets $55 or 2 for $105
$20 Kids Menu

Contact Dianne Nunez for information & reservations
Reservations must be made by March 19

Scotland's Guardian Thistle
By Joyce Rushden

Flowers since earliest times have played an important part in history and in the lives and affairs of man, more especially perhaps when portrayed in heraldic and emblematic form. When linked to some particular aspect of history, flowers were assigned various roles.

Notable here is the thistle, the longstanding national emblem of Scotland. Just how this came about cannot conclusively be said, but from all accounts an utterly Scottish legend lies behind it. Long ago an invading pack of Danes sought one night to take by surprise a slumbering Scottish emcampment patrolled by only one sentry. Nearer and nearer the barefoot invaders crept. All was still; no horn sounded. Then in the dark one man trod on a thistle and let out a loud howl of pain. Alerted to danger, the hardy Scots leaped from their sleep and fell upon the Danes, defeating them.

The plant which saved them became known as the Guardian Thistle and was adopted as the insignia of Scotland with the motto "nemo me impune lacessit", meaning "no one provokes me with impunity" (or a looser translation, "Wha daur meddle wi' me".) The legend dates back to the time of the early Scottish kings, to the House of Alpin whose succession lasted from around the year 800 to the year 1,000. During his time the Danes are known to have repeatedly invaded Scotland.

While questions have arisen as to which among the many species of thistle is the one of the legend--it is thought to be the Scotch Thistle, Onopordon Acenthium. The Scotch Thistle has been described as the most beautiful of British plants with its royal purple flowers and stately appearance. It is also thought to be the most thorny of the species, displaying sharp spikes.

Evidently, it was not until the reign of James III (1460 - 1488) that the thistle was recognized as the badge of the Stuarts. By the time his son James IV came to the throne, the thistle had become a popular royal device. James IV was a scholarly, cultured King, fond of music and the arts. Upon his marriage to Margaret Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII of England, the court poet, William Dunbar, wrote his poetic allegory, The Thistle and the Rose, to mark the union between Scotland and England (whose emblem is the rose). Sadly, James IV (with many of his subjects) were killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Several centuries later, Sir Walter Scott in his epic work, Marmion, A Tale of Flodden Field, tells how the gorgeous collar worn by King James was "wrought with the badge of Scotland's crown, the thistle brave of old renown."

The Most Noble and The Most Ancient Order of the Thistle was founded by James VII on May 29, 1687 and originally consisted of the sovereign and 12 Knights and was expanded to 16 Knights in 1821. Members wear a handsome green velvet mantle of the Order decorated with more than 250 heraldic thistles and sprigs of rue, known as the Herb of Grace, the ancient symbol of the Picts.

In its heraldic form, the Thistle of Scotland is usually portrayed slipped and leaved in a stylized and formal manner. As an insignia, it is worn by several old Scottish families, including the Fergusons whose crest is a bee upon a thistle. The Thistle badge was worn with pride by a number of old Scottish regiments as well. It is still the insignia of the elite Scots Guard and the Queen's Own Highlanders. Among other items of military dress, the
thistle is often found engraved on the basket-hilted broadswords of old, and probably on the Claymore the great sword of the Middle Ages.

The thistle went easily from decorating weapons of war to gracing items of celebration—in particular, the traditional Scottish drinking vessel, or "quaich" (meaning cup in Gaelic). Another drinking vessel peculiar to Scotland is the Scottish Thistle Cup. These little beaker-like silver mugs vary in size. They became popular in the late 17th century and were used mostly for spirits. Examples of the Thistle Cup are rare today and valuable.
The thistle symbol appeared on early Scottish coinage as far back as the reign of James IV in the 15th century and it still appears on modern-day Scottish bank notes. Over the centuries a wide range of Scottish jewelry has favored the thistle as a design. One of the chief treasures in the ring collection at the British Museum is the signet ring of Mary, Queen of Scots which depicts the shield of Scotland surrounded by the Collar of the Thistle.

As a skilled needle worker Mary, Queen of Scots also contributed largely to Scotland's wonderful legacy of tapestries, embroidering bed and wall hangings. She lovingly interwove the colorful detail, the Scottish thistle in full bloom.

Elegant carving of the thistle, often in heraldic style, grace a number of monuments and buildings in Scotland. It is especially represented among the highly ornamented architecture of the interesting town of St. Andrews.

There is no doubt that the Scottish thistle is a plant close to the hearts of both the Scottish people and those who have emigrated from there. As Robert Burns exclaimed in his poem "The Guid Wife of Wauchope House:, it is a "symbol dear": The rough burr-thistle spreading wide, Among the bearded bear, I turned the weeder-clip aside, and spared the symbol dear!

Coming Events
Mar 1 St. David's Day
Mar 10 Membership Meeting
Mar 17 St. Patrick's Day
Mar 17 St. Patrick's Day Parade and Faire
Mar 26 Tartan Day Gala Celebration
Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band
Apr 6 Tartan Day
Apr 14 Membership Meeting
Apr 24 Easter

March Celebrations

Mar 1 Jan Anthony--Birthday
Mar 2 Glen Bell--Birthday
Mar 5 Ellyn McGhee--Birthday
Mar 5 Roger Dawson--Birthday
Mar 6 William H. Wallace--Birthday
Mar 6 Ruth Johnston--Birthday
Mar 9 Sheila Thatcher--Birthday
Mar 12 Richard & Christine Cameron--Annie.
Mar 13 Christopher McGhee--Birthday
Mar 14 Richard Satchel--Birthday
Mar 17 Kenya & Lester Griffith--Annie
Mar 17 Bob & Sandier Stephenson--Annie.
Mar 17 Paul Smith--Birthday
Mar 17 Chad & Amy Connolly--Annie.
Mar 18 Mary Kay Collis--Birthday
Mar 19 Greg Robertson--Birthday
Mar 20 Ben Howard--Birthday
Mar 20 Richard & Susan Satchel--Annie.
Mar 20 Richard Thornton--Birthday
Mar 21 Kimberly McGhee--Birthday
Mar 23 Lash & Susie McDaniel--Annie.
Mar 23 Peggy Burton--Birthday
Mar 23 Dan Miller--Birthday
Mar 26 Anthony Vetch--Birthday
Mar 26 William Johnston--Birthday
Mar 26 Dick Collis--Birthday
Mar 28 Sandra Lady--Birthday
Mar 30 Janet Grant--Birthday
Mar 31 Jim Groves--Birthday
Mar 31 Robert McCurdy--Birthday

Know the Clans
District Tartan: Fife
From District Tartans by Gordon Teall & Phillip Smith Jr.

District Tartan: Fife

Fife, the low-lying rich farmland of the wide peninsula between the Firths of Forth and Tay, has been a major source of Scotland's agricultural wealth since prehistoric times. Separated from the rest of the mainland by the Ochil Hills and Lomond Hills, the Kingdom of Fife is one of Scotland's early political divisions. Traces of Bronze Age settlements stand beside Roman ruins, medieval churches and modern towns. Fife is noted for its distinctive coastline and many picturesque small towns and fishing ports.

The "Duke of Fife" tartan was designed for the celebration of the wedding in 1889 of Louise, the Princess Royal, daughter of Edward VII, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, to Alexander Duff, the first Duke of Fife. One of the earliest samples of the fabric is to found in the late nineteenth-century pattern book of Fraser, Ross & Co.

In recent years, this commemorative tartan has come to be regarded as a district tartan for Fife. It is not suggested that originally it was an old district sett of the Kingdom of Fife.

Caledonian Society Officers

President: Jean Latimer—602-867-6507
1st Vice Pres:
Tim Wallace—480-821-6163
Treasurer: Lisa Scott—602-218-6645
Games Chair: Jason Temple—602-920-5445
Recording Sec: Jean Whyman—602-956-6424
Corresp. Sec: Kay Morneau—480-503-0341
Trustee: Alan Ramsdell—480-969-8400
Trustee: William Wallace—480-838-7055
Past President: Elizabeth Grant—602-509-1146
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell—480-969-8400

Society Meetings

Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center located at 1106 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Come join us, or log on to or call 602-431-0095

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

February 10, 2011

The meeting was opened at 7pm by President Jean Latimer who began with a word of welcome and moved into the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Flowers of the Forest.

MINUTES: The minutes of the January 2011 meeting were approved as written in the Desert Highlander, on a motion by Jacquelyn Sinclair and a second by John Kilpatrick.

TREASURERS REPORT: Our current bank balance is $4,228.06 but the next statement should show an improvement in that figure.

President Jean opted to not have a Board Meeting last week so Jason Temple could use that date for a Games Meeting at the ICC. Therefore there was no New Business to take up in this meeting.

Guests John Clinkenbeard and Wendy Hurley requested to address the members and they were invited to do so. They spoke of what they felt was wrong with our meetings in regard to getting new members to join. There were some members who did not agree with their point of view and the counter opinion brought the discussion to a halt. The business meeting was adjourned at 7:30pm for our program.

Past President Elizabeth Reich provided our program for tonight by teaching the membership the details of Highland Dance and how it is judged at the various competitions. Mostly it was the ladies who were brave enough to get up and try their luck at becoming a Highland Dancer. We heard a lot of giggles from the back of the room. Refreshments were served and the fun lasted until 8:30pm.

Respectfully submitted by: Jean Whyman, Acting Recording Secretary

Important Dates in March

Mar 1 St. David's Day
Mar 12 St Patick's Day Parade and Faire
Mar 17 St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We hope to see you at the 28th Annual
St Patick's Day Parade and Faire!