Bagpipe Appreciation Day is an annual holiday celebrated on July 27. This day celebrates an ancient musical instrument known as the bagpipe. These musical instruments date back thousands of years and have become a part of the Scottish tradition. They have been used during battles, funerals, parades, weddings, and royal occasions.
History of Bagpipe Appreciation Day
Although bagpipes are central to Scottish identity, like kilts, haggis, and whiskey, bagpipes did not originate from Scotland. Bagpipes have an ancient history that traces back to Mesopotamia, a region in the Middle East, where shepherds were said to play them for leisure. There are speculations the pipes were in ancient Egypt, but no supporting evidence can prove this fact.
A Hittite wall carving from around 1000 B.C. displays a bagpipe and suggests that bagpipes were used in western Asia too. The Hittites traded with Egypt so the instrument could have been passed on to them from the Egyptians. That leaves the Egyptians and the Hittites as the two possible inventors of the bagpipe.
The instruments were later introduced to the Greeks who adopted them from the Romans when they conquered Greece. The Roman Emperor Nero was fond of playing the bagpipe. The English admired the instrument greatly and so they, too, adopted them. The bagpipes became popular in Britain after the Roman invasion in the 5th century. The instruments became more popular in England than in any other part of the world.
Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Lancashire produced noteworthy pipers, and areas such as Cornwall, Northumberland, Lancashire, and Lincolnshire made their own types of bagpipes. The first reference to the Scottish Highland bagpipes is from French history that mentions their use at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. By the 18th century, they had become an icon of Scottish national identity. The military began using the instrument and accompanied it with drums. Bagpipes were for communication during battles to signal movements, attacks, and retreats. They were also played before a battle to inspire the army.
When the Scottish uprising of 1745 failed, military training was banned, and bagpipes were no longer used for war. However, they were kept for other uses. There are many types of bagpipes today. The most popular bagpipe is Scotland’s Great Highland bagpipe. On Bagpipe Appreciation Day, we celebrate all variations of bagpipes and their contribution to culture and music.
Bagpipe Appreciation Day timeline
The sheep and goat herders in Mesopotamia play bagpipes to pass time.
Bagpipes enter the Roman empire and gain the fondness of the Roman emperor.
Bagpipes become popular in Britain.
The Scotland Army uses bagpipes in battle.
Bagpipe Appreciation Day FAQs
What do you call a Scottish bagpiper?
A piper is what you call someone who plays the bagpipe.
What is the most common bagpipe song?
‘Scotland the Brave’ is the most popular bagpipe song.
When is Bagpipe Appreciation Day?
Bagpipe Appreciation Day is celebrated on July 27 every year.
Bagpipe Appreciation Day Activities
Play the bagpipe
One of the best ways to celebrate Bagpipe Appreciation Day is by playing the bagpipe. If you do not own a bagpipe or know how to play, you can get one and start learning.
Read a book about the history
If you love books, you can read about the history of bagpipes. Learning about bagpipe culture is a way to observe Bagpipe Appreciation Day.
Visit a museum
Visit a museum and get acquainted with bagpipe history. Get to see bagpipe artifacts and learn about their cultural significance.
5 Interesting Facts About Bagpipes
Bagpipes were war instruments
In the past, Scottish soldiers often marched into war to the tunes of bagpipes.
They’ve no volume control
You can’t adjust the volume of a bagpipe because they do not have volume control.
‘Scotland the Brave’ is a favorite tune
The most loved bagpipe song is ‘Scotland the Brave,’ it is an unofficial Scottish anthem.
Bagpipes are heard 10 miles away
Pipers during the war used the Great Highland bagpipes for their volume reaching 10 miles.
Bagpipes are woodwind instruments
The woodwind instrument uses enclosed reeds fed from a reservoir of air in the form of a bag.
Why We Love Bagpipe Appreciation Day
Learn about Scottish history
We get to learn more about Scottish history and the significant role of bagpipes, apart from the entertainment they provide. We also get to honor the names of some great pipers as well.
Enjoy bagpipe music
We enjoy melodic tunes. Some classic rock songs have their delightful bagpipe versions.
Watch colorful parades
Many bagpipe parades take place on Bagpipe Appreciation Day. Pipers wear kilts and play so well while marching. Watch bagpipe parades on T.V., live, or stream them on your smart devices.
Bagpipe Appreciation Day dates