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  • Celebrating the Chestermere residents of Scottish heritage

    Chestermere residents of Scottish descent will be honoured during the Whitecappers annual Robert Burns potluck

    Celebrating the Chestermere residents of Scottish heritage pic 2
    The Chestermere Whitecappers will recognize Robert Burns Day on Jan. 28 with a potluck, which will include haggis. The doors open at 4:30 p.m., with the piping of the haggis, and the address to the haggis at 5:30 p.m. Photo by Emily Rogers
    Celebrating the Chestermere residents of Scottish heritage pic 1

    At last years Chestermere Whitecappers Association Robert Burns potluck, club member Graham Cox, paid tribute to his Scottish heritage by reading “Address to the Haggis,” in celebration of Robert Burns Day. Photo by Emily Rogers

    The Chestermere Whitecappers Association is celebrating Chestermere residents of Scottish heritage through the annual Robert Burns potluck.

    On Jan. 28, the Chestermere Whitecappers will be honouring Robert Burns and celebrating club members of Scottish heritage by piping in the haggis at 5:30 p.m. following with the address to the haggis.

    “Robbie Burns day celebrates anybody of Scottish heritage,” said the Vice President of the Chestermere Whitecappers Association Karen Rideout.

    For the President of the Calgary Burns Club, Jim Hutchens, celebrating Robert Burns Day is an opportunity for anyone of Scottish heritage and all nationalities to celebrate the life and work of the poet Robert Burns.

    “I would suggest Robert Burns Day should be celebrated because of the very humanity of the man, his grasp of the fact all men and women were created equal in a time when the station of people was defined by class and wealth, by his poetry and songs, he was able to connect people of all standings and nationalities,” Hutchens said.

    “His poetry and songs have transcended time like no other poet,” he added. “No other poet is recognized and celebrated as is Robert Burns in so many countries all over the world.”

    All seniors in the community are encouraged to attend the Chestermere Whitecappers Association’s Robert Burns potluck.

    “It’s our monthly potluck. Anybody who wants to come out and see how the Whitecappers centre works can put together a dish of some sort, a salad, or dessert, and just come out and share a meal with us,” she said.

    Hutchens believes that Robert Burns is celebrated because of the way his songs and poems resonate with people.

    “His words could touch the soul in so many ways. He seemed to have a spiritual connection, and gave hope for a better future for all, and that is the same today as it was then,” Hutchens said.

    “He wrote of nature as if he was born of the land and its creatures, he wrote of love from deep within his heart. he wrote poems of despair from the darkest part of his soul, and poems of hope and fairness for all mankind,” he said.

    Hutchens was once asked what it means to be Scottish, and he believes the answer lies with William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Robert Burns.

    “They each espoused freedom, but not necessarily freedom of Scotland as a nation but freedom of scots as people. Freedom of the souls, of mind, of thought, of speech, and the freedom to fulfill our dreams and potential,” he said.

    Adding, “This is what it means to be Scottish and indeed to be Canadian and to live in this country which espouses those same values as my forefathers. Robert Burns captured all of this and more in his works and in his words.”

    It’s important for the Chestermere Whitecappers Association to celebrate Robert Burns, not only because roughly 10 per cent of members are from a Scottish heritage, but it offers seniors in the community a safe place to gather and enjoy companionship with their peers.

    “The Whitecappers provide a safe and friendly environment for people just to come and enjoy companionship,” Rideout said.