INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY
Every year on March 10th, International Bagpipe Day celebrates this unique instrument. The day also promotes the diversity of bagpipes to the general public.
Bagpipes are woodwind instruments. Most people associate this instrument with Scotland, Ireland, and other Celtic countries. However, the origins of the bagpipe stem from ancient Egypt. Many believe Ancient Egyptians played some version of the bagpipes around 400 BC. The men who played the instrument were called the pipers of Thebes. Historians also believe the Roman emperor, Nero, played the pipes.
Historians aren’t sure how the bagpipes found their way to Scotland and Ireland. One theory suggests that invading Roman legions brought the bagpipes to Scotland. Through the years, pipers from Scotland and Ireland have played the bagpipes at weddings, feasts, fares, and even during war. In the Scottish Highlands during the 16th and 17th centuries, the bagpipes replaced the harp as the instrument of battle.
There are different kinds of bagpipes. In Scotland, the two different types are called the Highland bagpipe and the Lowland bagpipe. People are most familiar with the Highland bagpipe, and pipers usually perform during Highland dancing, weddings, and funerals. The Irish normally play the uilleann bagpipes. With a softer sound than Scottish bagpipes, the instrument is more equipped for indoor performances.
HOW TO OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY
Pipers around the world are encouraged to play their bagpipes. In past years, pipers, instrument makers, and scholars from the United States, Greece, Sweden, Nigeria, the UK, Scotland, and Ireland have held musical events to celebrate International Bagpipe Day.
- Listen to popular songs featuring bagpipes, such as “Come Talk to Me” by Peter Gabriel, “Celtic Ray” by Van Morrison, and “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by AC/DC.
- Read about famous pipers like Bruce Gandy, Peter Bain, and Ross Ainslie.
- Watch videos online of people playing the bagpipes.
- Learn more about the different kinds of bagpipes, their heritage, and history.
- Share your love of the bagpipe. Give a performance or lesson. Pass along the heritage of playing the bagpipes.
Spread awareness for this musical day on social media with #InternationalBagpipeDay
INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY HISTORY
Andy Letcher, the publicity officer for the Bagpipe Society, created International Bagpipe Day. The International Bagpipe Organisation also helps facilitate the day. They celebrated the first event on March 10, 2012. In addition to this day, there is an International Bagpipe Conference held every two years in March.