Stòiridhean (the stories), they are the heart of Gaelic culture. For Gaels the well-known art of storytelling is used as the means of passing down the traditions from one generation to the next.
In the past it was a common occurrence for families, friends and neighbours to be gathered in the kitchen for a cèilidh (visit). During these visits tales were told and songs were sung. These stories offered tales of travel and triumph, heroes, fools, and sometimes loss or tragedy. They were often composed, rarely written down, and retold endlessly by their descendants from memory.
Sgeulaiche (the storyteller), was often renowned for vast number of stories they were able to tell. You could tell a great story by the number of times it was requested and the large crowds who gathered to here it.
Many of these stories have stood test of time, having been brought with them from their homes in Gaelic Scotland and continue to be told here in Nova Scotia today.
This form of oral transmission of the culture has seen a decline with influence of the modern world. However today there is some resurgence of the storytelling tradition as young learners try to preserve and promote Gaelic culture.
These year Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village presents the Annual Joe Neil MacNeil Lecture on Wednesday, July 29th from 7-8pm. The presentation this year is titled “Restoring Nova Scotia’s Gaelic Identity: Planning a Cultural Nation”, given by Seumas Watson, Highland Village Manager of Interpretation and Marlene Ivey, Associate Professor of Design, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
Joe Neil MacNeil of Middle Cape, was well-known as a Gaelic tradition bearer and for contributing the stories to the book Sguel gu Latha | Tales Until Dawn, with over 50 stories recorded just from him.