A lion, a dragon and a haggis

By Tessa Lumley

Gordonstoun is an International School and proud to count 40 nationalities amongst its school community. Internationalism is a key element of Kurt Hahn’s educational ethos, allowing students educated here to live and learn in a truly diverse society, with all the cultural and social challenges and lessons that that brings; along with the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with people who will expand their view of the world in which they live. A great illustration of the school’s culture diversity this January has been the marking, on two consecutive weekend, of two hugely different and significant celebrations for two contrasting parts of the world! On January 21 we held Gordonstoun’s first Lunar New Year Festival to mark the Chinese New Year, which has been celebrated in China for millenia. With a feast of Chinese food in the refectory followed by a performance from the Highland Lion and Dragon Dance by Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy from Inverness. Some of the members of the Dragon Dance were strangely familiar!

A week later another ‘All School’ social (enjoyed by all members of both the Junior and Senior schools) marked a very different – and less long standing - annual celebration whose roots lie much closer to home – the Burns’ Night supper and ceilidh. With Haggis’s piped in by school piper and current guardian, Patrick B, it was addressed with some vigour by Angus B before it was served to everyone, enjoyed by many, and followed by cheesecake flavoured with another iconic Scottish staple – Irn Bru.

Whilst these celebrations provided the backdrop for socials on Saturday night’s - a chance for all the year groups to socialise and have fun together – they are also part of the important, and wider education on offer here at Gordonstoun. Be it celebration of the Lunar New Year, and the advent of the Year of the Rabbit, or the acknowledgement of the Scottish Bard whose influence is far wider than is often realised – after all, as Valentine’s Day approaches, how often might the comparison between love and a ‘red, red’ rose’ be opined? - through experiences such as these, we learn a little more about the rich history and cultural complexity of the world around us, and the broad possibilities of our place within it.