St Andrew´s Ball 2014
or Bavaria meets Scotland
by Ralph Kratzer
Scots and Bavarians have some things in common!
First, we are mountain people. What the Scottish Highlands mean for the Scots it is the beloved Alps for the Bavarians.
Second, we are used to partially harsh climate. Although the Bavarian capital of Munich is, in a straight line, 1330 Kilometres (826 Miles) further south than Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, Bavarians cannot complain about a lack of rain, snow and cold temperatures during the year and also the Highlands sometimes can be very uncomfortable weatherwise, I’ve heard.
Third, we are defensible tribes and therefore love our numerous castles.
Fourth, we speak strange dialects of our mother tongues. Therefore, the rest of our fellow citizens in UK and Germany have sometimes trouble understanding us.
Sixth, we love hearty meals, the Bavarians their “Schweinshaxe” (roasted pork leg), the Scotsmen their Haggis (savoury pudding containing sheep’s offal).
There are certainly many other things in common, but the one last thing is, the Scots and Bavarians both love to celebrate, drink and dance. The Bavarians can´t live without their beer, the Scots not without their whisky. The former are famous in the world for their “Schuhplattler” dance, the latter are enthusiastic inter alia about their “Highland Schottische” Country Dance.
So there was no question! I agreed when my girlfriend and I were invited to the traditional St Andrew’s Ball of the Scottish community in Northern Cyprus. It took place last weekend at the Denizkizi Royal Hotel in Alsancak.
The numerous guests were welcomed at the entrance by an original bagpiper and received their first welcome drinks in the lobby. I could not resist to take, as a pre-dinner aperitif, one of the excellent Scottish Single Malts. It should not be the last one this evening….
At the festively decorated tables, lively conversations took place very quickly. The delicious dinner was served and enjoyed.
But after that the evening started to become really entertaining. A small band consisting of an accordion player, a violinist, and of course the obligatory bagpiper began to strike up and the first dances were performed. Thanks God, my partner and I have had a few hours of training before, because the various figures of the Scottish dances cannot be done properly without practice.
But so we did not make ourselves a laughing-stock and when something did not work out so well, what the heck… we all had fun in the matter! Even experienced Scottish country dancers sometimes still make mistakes.
All in all a successful event, which proved once again how varied cultural life is on our little part of the island.
My personal thanks to the organizers of the Ball and to the staff of the Denizkizi Hotel.
P.S. For next year I was promised to get an original Kilt for the Ball. I’m curious!