Scottish Clans, Societies and Associations
Ancient... enigmatic.... colorful.... complex.... all of these words describe the Clans of Scotland which are part of this country's compelling historical journey. Historically, a clan was made up of everyone who lived on the chief's territory, or on territory of those who owed allegiance to the said chief. Through time, with the constant changes of "clan boundaries", migration or regime changes, clans would be made up of large numbers of members who were unrelated and who bore different surnames. Often, those living on a chief's lands would, over time, adopt the clan surname. A chief could add to his clan by adopting other families, and also had the legal right to outlaw anyone from his clan, including members of his own family. Today, anyone who has the chief's surname is automatically considered to be a member of the chief's clan. Also, anyone who offers allegiance to a chief becomes a member of the chief's clan, unless the chief decides not to accept that person's allegiance.
Few countries in the world can boast a life span as rich or diverse as Scotland. The true story of the people, the battles, the nobility and its Kings and Queens, is more thrilling than any novel, and has more love stories than all the Hollywood movies. Scotland’s clans provide Scots everywhere with a point of reference for their identity, history and culture.
Some of the implements used in the games were created as alternatives to traditional weapons when England forbid any Scotsman from bearing arms. Though other activities were always a part of the festivities, many today still consider Highland athletics to be what the games are all about. Regardless, it remains true today that the athletic competitions are an integral part of the events and one—the caber toss—has come to almost symbolize the Highland games.