New Year's Day in Vancouver – I wear my kilt to “kirk”
“Toddish McWong” sporting a red fleece vest and red socks to go with an Ancient Fraser tartan, Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver BC – photo Deb Martin
New Year's Day is Hogmanay in Scottish culture. It gives me a
reason to wear my kilt in public. New Year's Day in 2006 is on a
Sunday, so I wore my kilt to church, or as they say in Scotland, to
I attend the Centre for Spiritual Living in Vancouver. We meet at the Masonic Hall at 1495 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC, at 11am. Reverend Guy Johnson is the interim minister since the passing of Rev. Candace Frank
last fall. Candace was friend who paddled on our dragon boat team
for the Taiwanese dragon boat races in 2004, and also gave a blessing
for the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.
I like the diversity of ideas at the Centre for Spiritual Living.
The people attending are open minded to spiritual practices of
Buddhism, First Nations, and many other religions and
philosophies. Reverend Guy's message today is about creating
positive beliefs for a new year, and letting go of the old beliefs that
no longer serve us. We participate in a ceremony where we write
on flash paper, the things we want to let go of. On the other
side we write the things that we want to create for our life.
We form three lines, and when my turn at the front comes, I hold the
flash paper towards the candles. When it catches fire, I toss it
up in the air, and the flames grow big and hover suspended. Very
After the service, many friends and new faces greet me, and smile at my
“Which tartan are you wearing,” somebody asks me.
“It's the ancient Fraser, sometimes known as the Fraser of Lovat tartan,” I reply.
John Pifer comments that “It must be Gung Haggis Fat Choy
time again.” He really enjoyed attending the dinner last
year. I get a big hug from Jaime Griffiths, designer of the 2005
Gung Haggis Fat Choy poster. My buddy Craig Brown and I attend
the social coffee time after service, where he asks people if they've
ever seen a Chinese guy wearing a kilt before, then tells them that he
attended the first dinner when we only had 16 people in a living
room. It is a very friendly time.
Before leaving the building to go for lunch with Craig, I chat with
Reverend Guy. He is looking forward to attending the Gung Haggis
Fat Choy dinner. When I ask him if he will be wearing his kilt…
he gives me a look of surprise, like I let his secret out.
Hmm…. will he or won't he? Maybe if I bring him to Kilts Night
at Doolin's Irish Pub for a free pint of Guiness first…. dependent
upon wearing his kilt.
McWong” sporting a red fleece vest and red socks to go with an Ancient
Fraser tartan, Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver BC – photo Deb Martin