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Scots celebrate 40 years of their stay in the UAE

05/30/2009 11:15 PM

Abu Dhabi: Nearly 200 revellers turned up for a Scottish dance and music extravaganza at Al Raha Beach Hotel, Abu Dhabi to celebrate four decades of Scots in the UAE.

Titled Everything Scottish the huge event was organised by the St Andrews Society.

"It's a glittering occasion that is a true reflection of how Scots have settled extremely well in the UAE over the past 40 years," Andrew Herriot, Chieftain of the Scottish St Andrews Society in Abu Dhabi told Gulf News.

"The mood of the party suggests that the 'Great Scots' will be here for another 40 years," he added.

The community's dancers added a extra splash of colour to the proceedings when they turned up in colourful tartans.

"Tartan [a colourful Scottish woven cloth] is a great feature since many of us belong to clans. Each clan has a different tartan," Herriot explained. "Scottish names often begin with Mc or Mac such as MacMillan or Mackie and these names are associated with a particular clan," he explained.

It was an entertaining night as people danced to the music of popular the Scottish band Whisky Kiss from Glasgow. Many people could be seen shaking a leg to various Scottish dance forms.

There was also a specialist dance troupe led by Janice Galloway, who demonstrated a variety of Scottish dance forms. Later, she invited guests to join in the dancing while offering to teach them some new steps.

"This kind of activity is very popular in Scotland and literally all over the world wherever Scottish communities exist," Galloway said.

Scottish country dances are categorised as reels, jigs and strathspeys. The first two types (also called quick-time dance) feature fast tempos, quick movements and lively feel. Strathspey has a much slower tempo and a more formal, stately feel.

Talking about Scottish dancing Herroit said, "Our slow dances consisting of waltzes for two and strathspeys, where up to eight people could participate."

Scottish dancing is generally done in organised formations referred to as sets which consist of three to four couples, but some dances call for larger groups of five, six or even more couples.

Couples are usually mixed, but women may dance with women and men with men depending on the make-up of the assembly, he explained.

An authentic spread featured some traditional Scottish dishes including haggis.

Whisky Kiss who specialise in Scottish dance music had revellers on their feet dancing to some fine songs.

What it means: Scottish surnames

Mac is a prefix to surnames of people of Gaelic origin meaning "son". For example, Macdhomhnuill translates to Macdonald, meaning son of Donald.

You can across the feminine version Nc, an abbreviation of "nighean mhic" or "daughter of Mac", attached to a woman's surname, and sometimes further abbreviated to N'. There are many examples in the old registers, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, like Ncfarlane, Ncdonald, Ncdearmit, Ncfee, but were only isolated examples by the early 19th century.

In earlier records, a person would have been known not only by the father's name but also by the grandfather's name. As such, you would come across the use of Vc, meaning grandson or granddaughter, for example, in 1673 Dugall Mcdugall Vcean (Dugall, son of Dugall, grandson of Ean).

Some Mac surnames originated from occupations, like Macnab (son of the abbott), Maccosh (son of the footman. Others were derived from distinguishing features like Macilbowie (son of the yellow haired lad).

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