Celebration of Celtic culture brings festivities to Vimeo this year

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The number of Gaelic language speakers continues to decline. Elizabeth Meyers, administrative assistant at Pitt Global, recently hosted a Gaeltacht pop-up event, where she taught participants Irish Gaelic phrases in an effort to maintain the language.

This event was part of the Nationality Chambers ProgramCeltic Celebration Annual, which returned in a slightly different way this year with events featured across Vimeo. The event will be held virtually from October 24 to November 30.

Last year’s celebration was broadcast via Zoom and also featured videos from foreign artists. The videos on Vimeo can be viewed at leisure, each highlighting characteristics of Celtic culture.

Myers’ Gaeltacht pop-up event took place on October 29 at the Global Hub at Posvar Hall instead of a full-scale celebration. Gaeltacht refers to areas of Ireland where Irish is recognized as the main language. During the pop-up, she taught Irish phrases and discussed what embodies Irish culture.

Along with Irish conversations and mini history lessons, she also encouraged discussion on current affairs. Given that the event happened just two days before Halloween, she was sure to explore the origins of Halloween with reference to Irish culture.

Celtic culture refers to the similarities in the culture and language ambetween the six nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man and Brittany.

The celebration of Celtic culture got its start six years ago when Jennie-Lynn Knox, director of the Irish Committee for Nationality Rooms, partnered with Dale Richards, director of the Welsh Committee, to bring the culture to life. Celtic on the Pitt campus.

“I said: ‘We have to do something together’, like in the Welsh Committee and maybe the Scottish Committee,” Knox said. “I said, ‘I don’t know what we can do, but we have to do something,’ so I researched, and from our thoughts we found Celtic culture.”

Knox said in previous years the celebration would take place in the Frick Fine Arts building. It would start with a procession with a bagpipe show by George Balderose of the Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming. The remainder of the afternoon would include storytelling, music, dance, performances and speeches by award-winning academics.

According to Knox, Vimeo videos are accessible to people who can’t attend events in person and everyone has the option to stream. Myers hopes to incorporate a mix of in-person activities and events as well as online functionality for the celebration in the years to come.

Knox said she overlooks the negative aspects of the online transition and finds the right one there.

“If you didn’t see the game live, you missed it,” Knox said. “This year it was all videos, so you could watch it at 12:05, you could watch it at 4:00, you could watch it at nine in the evening. Once you have that Vimeo link, it will still be there.

For Knox, celebration holds a special place in his heart. When the Irish Hall was consecrated in the Cathedral of Learning in 1957, his father, James Knox, was the chairman of the committee that led its creation. She followed in his footsteps, holding the presidency and vice-presidency for over 20 years. Organizing the celebration each year is one of Knox’s top priorities.

“There’s no option not to have it,” Knox said. “But I think this year it’s been a bit more difficult to motivate everyone because everyone is very busy.”

The COVID-19 pandemic was a hurdle that each of the committees faced, prompting them to transition online for their large-scale event. The Gaeltacht exhibit and pop-up that Myers hosted are two of the in-person events that brought together members of the Pitt community.

Along with the Gaeltacht pop-up event, the other in-person event brought a 13-panel traveling exhibit to Pitt, which showcases Irish culture and language. The exhibit is located on the first floor of Posvar Hall and has been coordinated with the assistance of the Irish Consulate General’s office in New York.

As for the Gaeltacht event, Myers did not coordinate it alone. She was joined by Maggie Gralinski, President of the Pitt Irish Culture Club. According to Myers, one of the goals of the Gaeltacht pop-up event was to equip students with a skill set of “global competence” – where a person can interact with multiple cultures around the world.

“A global skill set of skills is really valuable and the best part about it is you can get it for free,” Myers said. “You just have to make friends, meet students who are part of a dance club or language table, or just attend these events which will help you discover other cultures.”

Besides learning the language and history, Myers also invited speakers from the Center for European Studies as well as officials from the Irish Culture Club to share opportunities for the students.

Layne Shaffer, a first year art and architectural history student, is of Scottish descent. She found out about the Celtic Culture Celebration event through the University’s calendar of events and said she gained a better understanding not only of its culture, but also how it relates to different types of art.

“I specialize in art history and I am able to understand cultural aspects and their relation to all kinds of art which I find very important not only for myself, but also for others who are interested in art, ”Shaffer said. “I think that being able to appreciate cultures, your own or others besides yours, can take you in many directions.

While the era of online webinars, video calls and more has entered its honeymoon phase, Knox and Myers agreed that now is the time to host more live events as conditions unfold. ‘improved.

“The big difference in having something in person is that the Celtic connection and culture, whether it’s Scottish, Welsh, Irish, or you’re from the Isle of Man, Cornwall or Brittany, it’s very family friendly, very clan oriented, ”Myers said. “Friendliness, gatherings are very important.


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