Ever wondered what the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo is like?
The event is performed annually by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands, and artistic performance teams in the Scottish capital.
Not everyone, though, gets the chance to experience the real thing in Scotland.
But the good news is that Belgium is staging its own sort of version of the world-famous Tattoo, albeit on a slightly smaller scale, early next month.
A sound and light show, called the “P’Thy Tattoo Show” which is a direct nod to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, is part of this year’s “Celtic Days” now-annual event on 2 and 3 September.
This, the second edition of the musical jamboree, takes place over the two days at Thy-le-Chateau in Walcourt, just south of Charleroi.
Last year’s show attracted over 6,000 visitors and hopes are high that this year’s version will be just as popular.
The guest of honour for the 2023 edition is the Principality of Asturias, a region in the north-west of Spain, represented by the Centro Asturiano de Bruselas.
From 11 am until the end of the day on both 2 and 3 September there will be parades and performances by five Pipes Bands from Belgium, Scotland and Brittany, five harp concerts, ten Celtic concerts and six “initiation groups” and shows by Asturian, Breton, Scottish and Irish tap dances in two marquees.
A spokesperson for the event told this website, “Visitors will get a chance to get to know the customs, gastronomy and exceptional beverages of each featured region. They can discover the ‘clandestine’ weddings or ceremonies of Gretna Green in Scotland and Scottish camp life with Clannan Ruath.
“There is also a Master of Barley’s Whiskies Master Class and an introduction to exceptional whiskies, kilt-wearing and country dancing.”
The history of the Gaelic language will be explained by the Royal Celtic Society of Edinburgh while other attractions include Anaïs Dugailly’s pony parade, a chance to sample the delights of Breton creperie, a craft fair with around 50 exhibitors and, for the youngest visitors, bouncy castles, outdoor games and Frédéric Veracx’s show, Merlin and the trunk of tricks.
At 8pm, at the foot of the medieval castle in Old Castle Square, the aforementioned Tattoo-style sound and light show will take place. This includes performances by the Harmonie Royale l’Union de Fraire, the Alba Pipe Band Belgium and the Tambours de la Garde Royale Anglaise de Jumet.
At 9.30pm, visitors can enjoy a performance by the Massed Pipes and Drums, a rondeau of honour with the Alba Pipe Band Belgium and the Pipe Band of the BW Guard from Fraire. Also on show are the Clan Hay Pipe Band, the Clannan Ruah Pipe Band and the Piping Orchestra.
The programme is the same on each of the two days of the event.
The event spokesperson added, “The Celtic culture spreads from Scotland to Breton and is recognisable by the atmosphere of the Piper Bands and Bagadoù, their bagpipes and binioùs.Celtic Days offers the opportunity to discover the various customs, songs and dances. The 2023 event also takes place at an exceptional site noted for its beauty and the prestigious setting of a feudal castle.”
For those unfamiliar with Scottish culture the Celtic Society was founded in Edinburgh in 1820 by Sir Walter Scott, General David Stewart of Garth and a group of Highland gentlemen.
The Society quickly became established as the principal promoter and guardian of the heritage of the Highlands and Islands, playing a prominent role in George IV’s historic visit to his Scottish capital in 1822.
The Society was in the vanguard of the Highland renaissance that began in the early 19th century and its role in promoting the language, literature, tradition and culture of the Highlands and Islands was recognised with the grant of a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.
It is as important today as it was then to preserve the history, language and arts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands and the Royal Celtic Society’s members are people with a passionate commitment to that end.
For Celtic Days, a one-day admission costs €18 while a two-day admission is €30. Entry is free for children under 12 years of age.
Tickets are on sale exclusively on the website: www.celticdays.be until 31/08. After purchase you will receive your tickets by e-mail.
Image: Belgian Blend Pipe Band