Slàinte maith, h-uile latha, na chi ‘snach fhaic!
(Good health everyday, whether I see you or not!)

Dear Cousins,

The biggest news coming out of Scotland in the past week, apart from the weather, has been the repatriation of two panda bears from Edinburgh Zoo, not to Rwanda, but back to China from whence they came. The original deal had been for a ten-year loan but this was extended by two years because of Covid, amongst other things. However, the return of the animals is seen by many as another indicator of the worsening relations between China and the West. The pandas have become a major attraction at the zoo and they will be sorely missed, not least by the zookeepers who have been looking after them all this time. The BBC link below leads to a short review of the panda story and includes brief interviews with two of the people who have been looking after the pandas all these years.

Another important story Scotland in recent weeks has been the inclement weather they have been experiencing of late. In Canada, we call this 'Winter'. The Scots seem so much better equipped, both logistically and mentally, to deal with these extreme weather events than their Sassenach neighbours to the south. The weather may be challenging in many ways but the snow does offer us some quite wonderful images.

Over the past few weeks, Jo Ann Munro Tuskin and I have been attending the online seminars hosted by CASSOC for the membership, looking at the future of Clan Associations, Gatherings and Highland Games. They've been very informative and thought-provoking. I've managed to take copious notes and I will share some of these with you once the series of webinars finishes early next year.

One immediate takeaway has been the extreme variation in approaches taken by many of the clans in promoting their clan interests and recruiting new members. It has been interesting to listen and view how sophisticated some of these approaches have become. At times, it was like watching a multi-national corporation presentation at a marketing conference.

Our shared Scottish heritage is something about which to be immensely proud. Personally, I love the trans-national nature of being Celtic. I posted a comment during the last webinar about the annual Festival Interceltique which takes place in Lorient, Brittany. It's an amazing event that attracts around 700,000 visitors, from all over the world.

At a time of increased isolationism and nationalist rhetoric around the world, it is refreshing to see such a successful event flourish - not because of the reinforcement of borders but the shared joy of cultural celebration. Let's have more of it!

On this positive note, I will bring my letter to a close. May I take great pleasure in wishing you all a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas and New Year holiday, filled with happiness, goodwill and charity.

Yours Aye,



© The Clan Munro Association of Canada