An important factor in Scotland's development as a nation over the last 1000 years has been the existence of the clan system.
The word 'clan' means children or descendants in Gaelic. Clans are older than Scotland itself and are regarded as a vital part of the country's heritage. This system of family groupings has given many Scots their surnames, providing a great amount of family pride and producing a sense of community. Not all surnames in Scotland became clans but those that did were usually of a sufficient size to have established a territory and have a clan chief.
The chief was often the person who could best lead a fighting clan but this evolved to adopting the male successor of the incumbent chief. The most important clan chiefs were part-kings, part-protectorates and part-judges and they held real power over their controlled lands.
After the Jacobite Uprising in 1745 when many clans supported the claim of Prince Charles Edward Stewart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in his failed atempt to take back the British throne the clan system, as it had operated for hundreds of years, was essentially destroyed. The power of the chief was reduced as the monarch established his authority while the nature of the clan system was also evolving with less need to defend or attack clan territory as people moved more freely around the country.
Nevertheless, the notion of 'belonging' is strong and to this day there are clan societies who keep members in touch with one another and clan gatherings on traditional clan territory, usually with a clan chief in attendance. Around the world clan gatherings take place at Highland games similar to Brigadoon where there is a great sense of occasion and long-standing traditions are upheld.
The clan representatives bring their clan's culture (tartans, artifacts and customs) and history to Brigadoon.
If you are of Scottish descent, even if your clan or family is not specifically represented, you may find someone who can help you explore and celebrate your heritage.
Clan Davidson C25 Facebook
Clan Edmondstone Society C22 Facebook
Clan Gordon C12 Website
Clan MacMillan C5 Website
Clan MacRae C23 Website
Clan Murray C11 Website
Clan Scott C10 Website
The Australian Scottish Gaelic Association C24 Website
At the 2016 Gathering clans were judged during the Parade on team participation, important features and pride in their tartan and for their Tents on colour and effort displaying their heritage.
Clan Lindsay excelled in the Parade closely followed by Clan Donald. Clan Donald had so much to look at and read in their tent display that they were announced as the overall winner.
There are a number of ways your Clan or Scottish Society may like to be involved in Brigadoon as either a one off event or a continuing event for a series of years. For more information about setting up a Clan Information Stall (no fee) contact the Clans Coordinator Wilma Cotterill by email at:
For more information regarding participating in the Street Parade contact the Parade Coordinator Joanne Smith by email at: