Article Source: Seachdain na Gàidhlig
Last Updated: 15 January 2024 12:22
The first official nationwide language week of its kind in Scotland, Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024 will run from 19th - 25th February and will see a plethora of vibrant events take place across the country and beyond, both in person and online.
From workshops to walking tours, coffee mornings to cèilidhs, communities are set to come together to share their appreciation for Scotland’s heritage and cultural identity.
This year, 53 events across 17 council areas have been funded with help from the Small Grants Fund, supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Seachdain na Gàidhlig is not just for those who have received financial support, however, with organisers keen to emphasise that everyone and anyone can get involved.
The essence of the week-long event lies in welcoming individuals, community groups, clubs and schools to take part in any way they can. Whether it's a casual conversation in Gaelic, sharing a Gaelic phrase or joining any of the numerous events happening throughout the week, every contribution, no matter how small, enriches the tapestry of this widespread celebration. Anyone keen to take part can add their own event to the week’s programme through the official online diary at: seachdainnagaidhlig.scot/events/
Events are happening across the length and breadth of Scotland and beyond. In Oban, Fèis Latharna will run An Seisean Seinn, a music workshop involving 11-18 year olds from the Oban and Lorn area, with an inclusive, informal performance set to round off the event. Also in Argyll and Bute, Cardross Primary are running a café for the whole school to attend, as well as parents and the wider community, while Comunn nam Pàrant An Òbain are planning a family ceilidh for all members of the community, providing Gaelic users of all levels an opportunity to use and practise their language skills.
Moray Gaelic Group, along with the University of the Highlands and Islands Moray College, are facilitating a programme that supports learners, speakers and anyone interested in Gaelic history and culture. Glasgow’s Suas leis a' Bhingo is set to host a Gaelic bingo night in the city, while The Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust Ltd in Fife is running a Herring Lass Working Songs session, exploring Gaelic working songs for museum visitors and local families with an interactive workshop and an outreach session at the Dreel Halls.
A host of communities across the Highlands are taking part, from pottery sessions with Ionad Thròndairnis in Skye to music and movement classes at the Cheryl Heggie School of Dance in Inverness.
Scottish islands are also getting involved, with Fèis Arainn hosting a presentation on the work of John Dewar, on behalf of the Duke of Argyll, and the Comunn na Gàidhlig Ìle inviting members of the community to an afternoon of storytelling and songs associated with the local villages of Islay, with a focus on lost stories and folklore.
This year’s festival will also see daily online workshops for schools take place across the country for the first time, offering resources and workshops that are tailored to suit schools with all levels of Gaelic experience – from total beginners to fluent speakers. Schools are encouraged to register their interest at seachdainnagaidhlig.scot/education/
Also as part of the 2024 festival, youngsters under the age of 18 will be invited to take part in a T-shirt competition, designing the official merchandise for the 2025 event. Serving as a platform for the younger generation to engage directly with Gaelic culture through artistic expression, the competition asks participants to create a design based on what Gaelic means to them.
Thursday 22 February will be dubbed Say a Gaelic Phrase Day, with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds encouraged to film themselves speaking the language and share it on social media, using the hashtag #SeachdainNaGàidhlig2024 or #SayAGaelicPhraseDay.
Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024 also welcomes two Gaelic Ambassadors, 2022 Gaelic Education Award winner and Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Rachel Kellow and Gaelic singer, TV presenter and Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Linda MacLeod. Both women have worked hard over the years to bring Gaelic into the everyday lives of countless people across Scotland and further afield, and will continue to do so throughout this year’s Seachdain na Gàidhlig.
Joy Dunlop, Director of Seachdain na Gàidhlig, said: “Seachdain na Gàidhlig is an inclusive week, designed to encourage everyone to embrace and express what the Gaelic language signifies to them and act as an important celebration of our cultural identity. Over the past two years, we've witnessed an incredible response, with Gaelic speakers and learners of all proficiencies seizing the opportunity to celebrate and share the language through various creative avenues.
“It’s a very exciting time for the language as we embark on Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024, which is already boasting a diverse array of confirmed events. Regardless of your fluency, we extend a warm invitation for all to participate, in Scotland and beyond! Whether hosting or attending an event, exploring our website for nearby opportunities or sharing videos of Gaelic phrases, this week is an open door for everyone – regardless of your proficiency level. For those new to Gaelic, this serves as an ideal starting point on your journey. Whoever you are, this is your language and your opportunity.”
Ealasaid MacDonald, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig is very happy to support Seachdain na Gàidhlig through the Small Grants Fund again this year. A primary aim of the new National Gaelic Language Plan is to increase the use of Gàidhlig and Seachdain na Gàidhlig is providing varied opportunities to use Gaelic through some very enjoyable activities. Seachdain na Gàidhlig is a positive demonstration that Gàidhlig is active and vibrant in households, communities, schools and workplaces across Scotland – so join in and be part of what promises to be, once again, an engaging week.”
Over 1,000 people took part in more than 100 events for Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2023, both in person and online, with 51 of these receiving support from the Small Grants Fund. Schools, community groups, libraries, musicians and football teams were among those who joined in the fun.
Organised by Scottish traditional culture and music organisation Hands Up For Trad, with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland, Seachdain na Gàidhlig will take place from 19th - 25th February 2024.
Seachdain na Gàidhlig is a charity, donations to support its organisation can be made at handsupfortrad.enthuse.com
For a full list of events running throughout the week and information on how to get involved, please visit: www.seachdainnagaidhlig.scot
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