‘Capercaillie’: a century on, how Scotland celebrates the Welsh delicacy

Extra-time will decide if ‘Covid Thanksgiving’, adapted from the 1942 silent film, will become a permanent fixture on Middle England’s tables. With Holyrood guaranteeing that Saturday will be blue-ribbon Sunday, it means the Celtic…

'Capercaillie': a century on, how Scotland celebrates the Welsh delicacy

Extra-time will decide if ‘Covid Thanksgiving’, adapted from the 1942 silent film, will become a permanent fixture on Middle England’s tables.

With Holyrood guaranteeing that Saturday will be blue-ribbon Sunday, it means the Celtic community will need to resort to their very own Thanksgiving.

So how is this different from, for example, Turkey Day? Well, it’s quicker, for a start.

The Scots began their celebrations late in October in order to maintain their traditional connection with Thanksgiving – which is one of seven feasts from which Scots feast each year.

It’s also not part of an official national festival until after Holyrood is held. To celebrate it as a national event, as Holyrood ends, the day is changed to All Hallows Day.

Around 1983 – when toasting of the season became important in the Scottish diet – a celebration was held in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange. The event was organised by a group called Covid is Over.

So the first rousing rendition of what would become the Cascarona Cup – or, more simply, ‘Cav’ – in the Twin Towers at the junction of The Quays and Barrow Street took place in 1983.

What was originally meant to be a celebration of Scottish food began as a tribute to the Lancastrian origins of the Occitan delicacy. Then came a bit of a heritage debate which saw food historians talk about the lobster’s English roots. By the late 1990s, the native Stornoway Crayfish and its English cousin were the standard culinary reference points of for the Glasgow guffawing clan in some circles.

Today’s session in the City Chambers will be called Together for Scotland, or Capercaillie for short. It is the campaign to maintain the autonomy of Scotland’s parliament and will be accompanied by protest placards that read ‘No-thinking-Scottish-food-eating-more-festive-games-in-gridlock-streets-entirely-without-uses’.

Far from just the usual kind of round of auld game, it’s hoped that ‘Capercaillie’ – much like Bannockburn, or Stillgill before it – will take on a more heroic character when it’s taken down and fire-logged after Glasgow’s Sunday officially enters the new millennium.

Leave a Comment