Currently, the eyes of the world are on Glasgow as it hosts the 20th Commonwealth Games. Nicknamed the friendly city, Glasgow invites 71 teams on its epic journey through the Games. A modern city of culture and sport, forward-thinking and creativity, Glasgow’s lively heart and warm people welcome thousands into its city- showing that there is so much more to Scottish culture than a wee dram, bagpipes and deep-fried Mars bars.
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event that takes place every four years, involving athletes from the Commonwealth Nations. Although there are 53 members of the Commonwealth, 71 teams participate in the Games, as a number of dependent territories compete under their own flag. This year, taking place between 23 July and 3 August, the countdown to Scotland’s biggest party is over as Glasgow plays host.
Before the start of the Games is the much loved tradition of the Queen’s Baton Relay. Introduced in Cardiff in 1958, it was developed as a symbolic celebration of both unity and diversity that would bind the 71 nations with the message of peace and harmony through sports. This year, the baton design embodies Glasgow and Scotland’s culture and history by combining leading-edge technology with artistic skills. Their mascot, called Clyde, is a green, cheeky wee thistle who represents Scotland.
An array of iconic Scottish culture kicked off the Opening Ceremony in Celtic Park on 23 July. Taking to the stage was a giant haggis, cabers, golf clubs, 41 Scottish terriers, large Tunnock teacakes, kilts, Rod Stewart, Billy Connolly, The Queen and to round it off was an impressive show of fireworks. Proud of their city and Scottish culture, thousands applauded the show that had taken time and effort to plan.
During the Games, many tourists will be encouraged to try some of the Scottish delicacies that are renowned across the world such as haggis, Irn Bru and Scotch whiskey. Others include Cullen skink- a hearty soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes and onions- and cranachen- a Scottish desert made of oats, cream, whisky and raspberries. The deep-fried Mars bar is also supposedly a famous Scottish snack, where an ordinary chocolate Mars bar is fried in a batter commonly used for deep-frying fish.
It is a great time for a tourist to visit Glasgow as the atmosphere through the city is electric and vibrant. However there is a wide variety of attractions to see and things to do in Glasgow if tourists wish to do something else other than watching the sports. Scotland was once the shipbuilder to the world and it was Glasgow that was the heart of the industry on the south bank of the River Clyde in the district of Govan.
The River Clyde runs through the city and was important in shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire. It is the ninth longest river in the United Kingdom and the third longest in Scotland. A popular thing to do when in the city is take a cruise “doon the watter”. With the river banks lit up and regular boats trips through the day, it is a good opportunity to see Glasgow from the water.
Translated from the Gaelic as “dear green place”, Glasgow is home to over 90 parks and gardens and more green spaces per capita than any other European city. Lying south of the Clyde is Pollock Country Park, home to buildings entirely styled in Mackintosh design, both inside and out. As a born and bred Glaswegian, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect, designer and artist, whose work was adored and appreciated.
Through the Games, Glasgow have had an opportunity to deliver a lasting legacy. For the people, businesses and communities of Glasgow, they get to both soak up the atmosphere, and also benefit in opportunities that come from hosting. Glaswegians and Scots from around the country will be embracing every minute of the home spirit, energy and vibrancy that the Games give off. For the first time playing host the Games, Glasgow have already shown what they are capable of.
How has the Commonwealth Games enriched your knowledge of Scottish culture?