The Games uphold a Scottish tradition dating back into the mists of the past. The earliest Games were held more than a thousand years ago under the sponsorships of kings and clan chiefs. The Ceres Games in Fife, Scotland, claims to be the oldest continuous games, dating from 1314. However, the Braemar Gathering claims to have older roots, dating back to King Malcolm III of Scotland, who came to the throne in 1057.
Competition served a variety of martial, sporting and religious functions. The Clan Chiefs used them to recruit staff. Winners of races made excellent couriers and the strongest men made fine bodyguards. The athletes and wrestlers, retained by rival chiefs, were often matched in competition at important gatherings. Dancers and pipers were taken into the chief’s household, not just for entertainment value, but the glory their prowess would reflect on their masters on such occasions.
Down the centuries, the men of the villages gathered once a year – perhaps their only holiday – and passed the day exercising their strength in athletic competition and playing the bagpipes and performing traditional dances.
Today, Scottish Games are held in all parts of the world where Scots, by birth or ancestry, have made their home. Games are so popular now in the United States, that one or more Games can be attended somewhere in the country almost every week of the year.
The Seaside Highland Games were organized to fill the void of a Scottish presence in California’s Central Coast and to round out the year of Scottish Games activities. The SHG is a nonprofit public benefit corporation organized for the educational purposes of sharing Scottish history, art, literature, music and tradition. It is governed by a Board of Directors and is a 501(c)(3) organization.