Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) notes the earliest which means of this time period as “A sign for assembling combating males, sounded on bagpipes or drum. A tune used for this”. Nevertheless, in much less bellicose instances the time period got here to imply: “One in all many assemblies organised yearly in numerous components of the Highlands for the holding of athletic, dancing and piping contests”.
An early instance of the latter comes from the Edinburgh Night Courant of August 1828: “The Athole Gathering or Highland Assembly was held on the Bridge of Tilt, on Wednesday the sixth instantaneous”.
At the moment would have been the annual Braemar Gathering, which additionally has an extended historical past and a few distinguished attendees. DSL data this from Queen Victoria’s Leaves from the Journal of Our Life (1850): “We lunched early, after which went at half-past two o’clock … to the Gathering on the Citadel of Braemar”.
There are lots of different varieties of gaitherins. The Nairn E book and Arts Pageant hosted a Gaitherin Day famous within the Forres Gazette of September 2019: “Mavis Macdonald, chairwoman of the pageant, mentioned: ‘Due to the funding [from Event Scotland] we’ve created an unique, inventive and numerous programme of occasions, which is able to embrace our first Gaitherin Day, bringing guests and the neighborhood along with music, storytelling and tune’.” Edinburgh now has a Youth Gaitherin which, in line with within the Herald of April 2019, was supported by funding from the Royal Army Tattoo.
Lastly, in June 2018 the Aberdeen Night Specific reported on an occasion known as, merely, The Gaitherin: “The Gaitherin, a charity in Inverurie, received the Cultural Award on the ceremony. It helps promote conventional music, drama and dance throughout the area to encourage youngsters through the faculty holidays to develop new expertise.”.
* Scots Phrase of the Week is written by Pauline Cairns Speitel, Dictionaries of the Scots Language https://dsl.ac.uk.