Few festivals are as unabashedly patriotic as Scotland’s Year of the Homecoming, first held in 2009 and marketed as an ‘open invitation to all to return to Scotland and celebrate everything that’s great about being Scottish’. This is no ordinary festival – it’s an entire year of events and festivities that embrace the country’s rich culture and heritage, kicking off with the traditional Scottish Hogmanay celebrations on New Year’s Eve and featuring more than 170 events held around the country throughout the upcoming year.
The 2014 Scottish Homecoming includes two major international sporting events – the 40th Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow from July 23rd to August 3rd, and the 40th Ryder Cup held at the 5-star Gleneagles golf court in September, both set to draw in huge crowds, but there will be plenty of other ways to get involved.
Events are split into 5 categories:
– Active events, including walking and cycling festivals and sporting events.
– Ancestral events, like the famed Highlands Games and the Battle of Bannockburn re-enactment, marking the 700th anniversary of the legendary Scottish battle
– Food and Drink, celebrating local produce with events like the Spirit of Stirling Whisky Festival.
– Creative events like the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival in Moray.
– Natural events, like the John Muir Festival, held in April to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the opening of the John Muir Way.
Additional highlights include a vibrant floating procession to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous Forth Road Bridge; the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival; and the European Festival of Brass.
Even if you can’t make it for one of the major events, with so much happening throughout the year, 2014 is an ideal to visit Scotland or, for those with Celtic ancestors, to get in touch with their Scottish roots. Keep an eye on the 2014 Scotland Homecoming website for more details of upcoming events.