Over 100 Scottish clan chiefs gather for Edinburgh's Highland Games

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Edinburgh, July 26 (ANI): The largest ever gathering of Scottish clan chiefs was organized in Edinburgh on Sunday. It was attended by international highland athletes, outstanding pipers and captivating highland dancers besides many American pilgrims.

It is the first time in recorded history that more than 100 of Scotland's clan chiefs have assembled in one place and the first time since Sir Walter Scott's Royal Pageant in 1822 that so many clans have been seen together in the city, The Independent reports.

Kitted out at perhaps the world's best-known national dress, the clans are meeting to discuss the future of the clan system in the 21st century and the role of the clan chief.

For many American pilgrims at the 2009 world class Highland Games, it was the first time they had visited their ancestral homeland.

Although there has been a decline in the popularity of traditional Scottish games and heritage on home soil, the opposite is true abroad.

North America alone has 100,000 clan members and holds 300 Highland Games each year. Many US visitors are expected to take advantage of the chance to research clan histories and genealogy.

Organisers said they decided to hold the Gathering 2009, which was opened on Saturday by Prince Charles, partly to celebrate what Scotland has given to the world but also to mark the 250th birthday of its favourite son, the poet, Robert Burns.

Prince Charles said the gathering was a "stirring meeting of Scotland's history and its living heritage."

"Thankfully, in 2009 the lives of the clan chiefs and their clansmen, both in Scotland and abroad, are somewhat less blood-soaked and unhappy than those experienced by thousands of their ancestors. I happen to believe that it is Scotland's traditions of writing, language, speech, music and poetry which will continue to nourish this and future generations," he said. (ANI)

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