October 2012

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 Flowers of the Forest  The Celtic Calendar
 Scotland & Sadie Hawkins Day  October Celebrations
 Society VIPS Honored  Society Officers

President's Message
Join the Caledonian Society at our monthly meeting on October 11, 6:30pm and enjoy our version of Octoberfest. A barbeque will be held out on the patio of our ICC location for all to enjoy. A selection of Scottish beers plus other drinks will be available for purchase. There will also be music. Since the evenings have cooled off, it should be a pleasant time of music, fun and food.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Wendy Hurley, President
Live! Laugh! Love!


We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Dwight "Gib" Hall who died recently.

He and his family worked tirelessly in helping to make our Highland Games successful.

He will be missed.

Scotland and Sadie Hawkins Day

Leap Year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage. In many of today's cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. However, that hasn't always been the case. When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th.

It is believed that the tradition of women proposing on Leap Year Day was started in the 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during leap year.

According to English law, February 29th was ignored and had no legal status. Folks assumed that traditions would also have no status on that day. It was also reasoned that since the leap year day existed to fix a problem in the calendar, it could also be used to fix an old and unjust custom that only let men propose marriage.

The first documentation of this practice dates back to 1288, when Scotland supposedly passed a law that allowed women to propose to the man of their choice in that year. Tradition states they also made it law that any man who declined a proposal in a leap year must pay a fine. The fine could range from a kiss to payment for a silk dress or a pair of gloves.

In the United States, some people have referred to the first Saturday in November as Sadie Hawkins Day with women being given the right to run after unmarried men to propose. Sadie Hawkins Day made its debut in Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner on November 15, 1937. Sadie was "the homeliest gal in the hills" who grew tired to waiting for the fellows to come a courtin'. Her father, a prominent resident of Dogpatch, was worried about Sadie living at home for the rest of his life, so he decreed the first annual Sadie Hawkins Day, a foot race in which the unmarried gals pursued the town's bachelors. By the late 1930's the event had swept the nation. Life Magazine reported over 200 colleges holding Sadie Hawkins Day events in 1939.

When Al Capp created the event, it was not his intention to have it occur annually on a specific date. However, due to its enormous popularity the event became an annual event in his strip during the month of November, lasting four decades.

Society VIPS Honored

The Caledonian Society of Arizona started off September with a Special Event! It was a "by invitation-only" Tea, on Saturday afternoon to say "Thanks" to the leaders of the Society in years past.

They were treated to refreshments and then given a long overdue chance to sit and visit, like they might have been able to do if we had a V.I.P. tent at the Games. They were introduced to some of the new officers: President, Wendy Hurley; Treasurer, Alex Cheek; and Trustee, Mark Pelletier.

We hope they left the ICC knowing that we had not forgotten them, and that we really do appreciate their years of hard work. It was certainly our pleasure to host this affair on their behalf.

Attending were: Michelle Campbell and Gabby, Madeline Foreman, Don and Bobby Hoeck, Jerry and Pat Minnis, Kay Morneau, Mary Moriarty, Steve and Gail Wylie, and Genie Smith. Others were unable to attend due to work, ill health and family loss.

To all those who attended and/or not, we simply say "THANKS FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE!"

Jean Latimer, Past President

St. Andrew's Day Celebration

We will be celebrating the patron saint of Scotland with a dinner in November. Although the official date of St. Andrew's Day is the 30th, we will be hosting the dinner n Saturday November 17 due to celebrations of Thanksgiving.

John Good and his band will be entertaining us with music and there will be an exceptional buffet and a cash bar. Tickets for adults are $5 and children are free!

The wearing of the kilt or other tartan is encouraged. Please plan on attending this fun event.

Know the Clans:
What's in a Name?
By Ron Dempsey, FSA Scot


Two explanations are given for the name Pringle. One is a land name from Hoppringle in Roxburghshire. The other has a Cymric (relating to Wales) name similar to Old Welsh where "hop" is really a form of "Ap", meaning "Mac" or son in Welsh.

The Pringle element is supposedly for a pilgrim. Therefore, the other meaning for the name is "son of the pilgrim". The Pringle coat of arms has scallops on it. Scallops are a heraldic device showing a pilgrimage. The name has been recorded as Hoppringle dating back to the reign of Alexander III (1249-1286) which predates the usual oldest record known as the Ragman Roll of 1296. The family may have come from a pilgrim to the Holy Land, or one who was on a crusade.

The Whitsome branch of the family were supporters of Robert the Bruce but lost their lands under John Balliol during the War of Independence. However, they received them back after Bruce acquired the Scottish crown.

Like so many families the Pringles had an alliance, or were associated with, greater families, and in this case it was the Earls of Douglas. From the powerful Douglas family they received the lands of Smailholm and build a castle there. Like many other Scottish nobility, during the Battle of Flodden, in 1513 against the English, the Pringles lost a great many family members. David Pringle, son of the Smailholm laird, lost his life together with his four sons.

Other branches of the name include Wytbank, Torwoodlee, Haining, Newhall and Lochton. The Pringles were a Border clan and like many Border clans, the Pringles were not above either crossing the border or just raiding their neighbor's lands for cattle. Reiving was so common that both monarchs of England and Scotland agreed to set up major families in the area as wardens to sort out abuses in the hope that they could avert open war.

Today Pringle is a world renowned corporate name due to the Scottish knit wear company of the same name.

The Celtic Calendar

The Druid Priests were in charge of a great deal of religious festivals, as well as organizing the Celtic calendar. This in itself was a daunting task as the Celtic calendar is incredibly accurate. However, it required a manual correction about every 40 years which meant dealing with a very lengthy and complex mathematical set of formulas to "correct" the calendar. Complicated Mathematics? Do we surmise that the ancient Celts were so advanced that they had such a clear understanding of higher math that would stump the average college math professor today? If they were so advanced in this area it is no wonder that they were so advanced in so many other areas such as metal working, the understanding of the laws of nature and more? Makes one wonder just how advanced these "barbaric" peoples actually were.

There are several different beliefs as to just what calendar the Celts used. Most archaeologist and historians hold to the "Coligny Calendar" theory. This calendar is represented by the surviving fragments of a great bronze plate which originally measured 5 feet by 3 l/2 feet. The plate, found in eastern France, was engraved in the Gaulish language (similar to the Welsh language) in Roman-style numerals and letters. This calendar depicts a system of time-keeping by lunar months. It shows 62 consecutive months with 2 extra months inserted to match the solar timetable. It appears to have worked with a 19-year time cycle that equated 235 lunar months and had an error of less than half a day.

It is from ancient writers such as Caesar that we learn that the Celts counted by nights and not by days. Their unit of measure was the night followed by the day. The opposite of all the modern calendars. Ancient philosophy believed that all existence arose from the interplay between darkness and light (night and day), cold and warmth (seasons). Thus the passage of years was the alternation of dark periods (winter, beginning November 1) and light periods (summer, starting May 1).

The Celts measured the solar year on a wheel, circle or spiral. This all symbolized creation and the constant movement of the universe in growth and development. The Celts counted the days as starting at sun down and longer periods as 'x' (a number) nights, and months were counted in moons. Up until Georgian times, a week was expressed as a sennight (seven nights). Festivals were on the nearest moon, new or full depending on the festival. The length of the moon cycle is 28 and a bit days. This gives 12 moons in a normal solar year. Every 21 years there are 13 moons in the year and this is called a Great Lunar Year. The last one was 1993 so the next is 2014.

The Celtic year was divided into four main parts based on the farming cycle.

  • Starting the New Year with the festival of SAMHAIN, when the world starts to darken into winter. The veil between the human world and the world of the dead becomes very thin. Ancestors cross over the veil to join in the feast. The following day had no name; this is to stop the spirits from being trapped in our world and to make the journey back over the veil. The modern date for this is 31 October and goes a long way to explaining the depiction of the ghosts at Halloween (All Hallows Eve).
  • The end of winter and the start of the awakening of the world is marked by IMBOLC, which translated from the Celtic languages is "the lactation of the ewes". The birth of the first lamb means that there is once again fresh milk available and the proof of new life returning. The modern date for this is 2 February which in the Christian calendar is Candlemas.
  • The liveliest festival of all is BELTAIN, the first day of summer, May 1. It was a time of partnerships and fertility. Couples would proclaim their love on this day. Animals were transferred from winter to summer pastures.
  • The last major festival was the bringing in of the harvest, starting on the feast of LUGNASA. The festival lasted for a whole moon and was a celebration of the Gods providing all that was needed. The culmination of the festival was Harvest Home. This was the last load coming in from the fields.
Mixed through the middle of the farming year was the solar year with the Solstices and Equinoxes. Although these dates were associated more with the Druids and that is a whole subject on it own.

Coming Events

Oct 11 Membership Meeting at ICC 6:30pm
Oct 12-14   Games—Ventura CA (Seaside Games)
Nov 2-4      Tucson Celtic Festival & Highland Games
Nov 17 St. Andrew's Day Dinner at ICC 6:30pm
Nov 30 St. Andrew's Day

October Celebrations
We are attempting to up-date our Celebration list to add information for new members and remove those from the list that are no longer relevant. If you are a dues-paying member or just a “friend” of the Society and would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information on our voice mail – 602-431-0095 – or email it to editor@arizonascots.com and it will be included in our Celebration list.
Oct  8     Steve Wylie—Birthday
Oct 11     John & Kathy Beatty—Anniversary
Oct 12     James Grant—Birthday
Oct 18     Earl & Hope Singleton—Anniversary
Oct 28     William Redpath—Birthday
Oct 30     Toni & Andy Sarcinella—Anniversary     


Society Meetings
Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Irish Cultural Center located at 1106 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Come join us, or log on to www.arizonascots.com

Caledonian Society Officers
Area Chairperson
President: (2012 – 2014) Wendy Hurley
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
1st Vice President: Mark Clark
Games Chair
Jason Temple
Membership and Programs Chair Don Finch
Treasurer: Alex Cheek
Secretary: Corresponding and Recording Michael Fraiser
Trustee: Mark Pelletier
Trustee: Andy Walker
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell