The bagpipes played a major role in rallying the clan(s) to battle, and to war. They were considered a military instrument; hence banned, as was the Gaelic language and the Highland mode of dress, following the Battle of Culloden. Highlanders emigrated during the latter half of the 1700s, to escape these restrictions. John MacKay, piper on the ship Hector which came to Pictou, Nova Scotia, in 1773, led the passengers from the ship when it anchored in Pictou harbour.
Today, pipers are much sought for their skill at gatherings, ceilidhs, formal functions, weddings and more. Pipebands compete with each other in skill, and grace the Scottish Festivals and Highland Games in Scotland and in Nova Scotia (also in Australia, New Zealand, USA and elsewhere). Pipebands are probably a romantic representation of the life in the Highlands, but do stir the pride in the hearts of all who hear or play them.
Pipe Band: Clam Festival, Economy, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Tourism Photo; Click to enlarge [JPEG 109K]
Pipes & Drums: Hector Festival, Pictou, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Tourism Photo; Click to enlarge [JPEG 105K]
Pipe Band: Gathering of Clans, Pugwash, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Tourism Photo; Click to enlarge [JPEG 145K]