located in the California, Sierra foothills, 49'r gold country. Our 21st
annual Christmas Walk and Faire, unique in the western US, will be held in
Howard Park, Ione, California on December 7th. and 8th. 2002.
The Mother Lode Scots of Amador County in the Gold Rush/Mother Lode area of Northern California was organized in 1980 to provide an association for Scots and descendents of Scots who have been migrating from Scotland for the past 300 years. These "Scots" are keenly aware of their "Scottishness". This feeling of still being a part of Scotland is an enhancement of their identity as Americans - after all, this land provided refuge and opportunity for them and their ancestors. Many Scotsman - and Scotswomen too, found their way to the California Gold Rush in 1849 - and after and became a part of the rich diversity of nationalities and cultures for which California is noted.
The Mother Lode Scots, like their counterparts the world over, enjoy participating in Scottish celebrations, where they have an opportunity to wear the kilt and the plaid - or just display a bit of their clan tartan to show that they, too, "belong". Some of these celebrations are true survivals of Scottish tradition such as Robert Burns' Birthday feast and St. Andrews Day. Others are of American origin, but harking back to old Scottish customs. There is the "Kirkin' o' the Tartan" when tartans are brought to a church to be blessed, and of course, the Scottish Christmas Walk. The Christmas Walk was originated rather recently - in 1966 in
Alexandria, Virginia, George Washington's "Home Town";
Alexandria was originally settled largely by Scots. This event is now one of the high points in the social life of the city and goes on for several days and nights.
The Christmas Walk here in the California "49er Gold Country" had its beginning in 1982.To the best of our knowledge, it is the only Walk held West of the Mississippi River. This year on Saturday, December 8th. and Sunday 9th.,at 5p.m., the pipers will tune up to lead the candlelight Walk culminating in the blessing to the walkers in the "auld tongue" - Gaelic. It is a wonderfully colorful and joyous way to commence the Advent season.
Two athletics practice their throws for height,
in the woods near the faire
The Queen and her subjects arrive at the Church
by candlelight to receive the blessing
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, has just bestowed
knighthood in the Order of the Thistle to, left to right, Sir Jock Thebaut
("a proud McLeod"), Sir Stuart McNaughtan (Clan McNaughtan) and
Scottie Carr (Clan McDonald of Keppoch) Squire to Sir Stuart.
The Queen and 1500 of her subjects receive
the Christmas Blessing by candlelight
Some of the revelers at the Mother Lode Scots
Christmas Walk and Faire