Yesterday, 13th September, the Kirkin’ of the council took place at Old St Andrews Church in High Street, Montrose.
For those who don’t know this is an annual civic procession which, in one form or another, has a history in Scotland going back about 400 years. The form is pipers at the front, the council mace carried by the council officer, then the Provost, the Lord Lieutenant, Lords and Ladies of Angus, the county Sherriff Principal, councillors, academics, representatives of civil and military services etc
etc. I haven’t got the full list or the order right, but you get the idea. And me of course, at the front with the Provost both trying to keep pace with the pipers!
After we have woken up the sleeping good folk of an Angus town on a Sunday morning we join the congregation of a local church for their Sunday Service.
This year, at the invitation of the Angus Provost Helen Oswald, we broke with tradition and the council’s mace was carried by Angus reservist Kevin McEwen, a Staff Sergeant with 225 (Scottish) Medical Regiment based in Dundee, and a property services quantity surveyor at Angus Council in his day job. The link between voluntary service, community and council was clear and noted by many. Maybe we have established a new tradition?
Throughout our lives we encounter tradition. Some is of it is not so good, but much of it serves to remind us of fundamental things about our society, our culture or our organisation – who we are, what we value and so on. But the thing about tradition is that is hasn’t always been there. At some point every tradition was in fact new fangled. We should not be afraid of creating new cultural norms, new traditions, doing so is traditional.