On December 31, 2013, in the waning hour of 14 minutes past eight, the beacons were lit.
Edinburgh, Stonehaven, Inverness. Likewise of sites most staunchly flaunting the Scottish identity, projections of Scotland’s place in man’s history and hearts simultaneously sparked amidst the deep winter dark; the skies above them ignited, each eye-capturing and ear-tremouring exclamations to the rest of the world – the summon call, the invitation of homecoming.
But could it have resonated yet so differently where I stood, distantly opposite to the National Wallace Monument, on a hilltop in Stirling?
The fireworks were brisk, fleetingly splendent, but I didn’t find its essence in ceremony.
Azure, electric as the Scottish flag’s blue, surged the sandstone tower afar. Floodlights hewn gunpowder smoke with the pair of white beams, until they intersected and continued skywards – a gleaming St Andrew’s Cross, a signal to the world.
It seemed apt, for a beckoning call meant to resonate across the globe, for a pride affiliated with freedom to live and let live, that the Homecoming ceremony bellowed not in explosions of lights and sounds – but symbolisms. I may not be Scottish, or find Scottish lineage in my veins; yet I could identify with the compelling, one urging me to find a piece of home in Scotland.
On New Year’s Eve, at 20:14, the beacon was lit – and its radiance found me.
Behind the lens
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Wait a minute: you care less about how I took this shot and more about Homecoming Scotland 2014? Sure thing.
Over the course of the year, a scheduled series of events and festivals across Scotland in celebration of all things Scottish: culture, music, sports, gastronomy and, quite often overlooked, literature and science.
Commemorating Scotland’s proudest son in one January night will prolong to a three-day jollification. All perceptions of everyday-life pursuits – food, drink, fashion, even our world itself – will be challenged at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Added to the repertoire of annual happenings, such as the Edinburgh Fringe and Military Tattoo, will be those hosted beyond the Scottish capital and across the entire Scotland.