Genetically we are all a mixture of different influences, the sum total of all the countless generations that have come before us. What then does it mean to be Scottish?
Many people would say that it is to do with the heart and not the head; a feeling that cannot be simply rationalised. Some would describe it as a sense of connection with Scotland and an acute awareness that Scotland is a place that can be truly described as ‘home’. Homecomers – people who have travelled sometimes huge distances to visit an ancestral farmstead or lay flowers on the grave of an ancestor – talk movingly of the experience. They often find it difficult to put into words but there is a strong feeling of self-knowledge and self-worth while at the same time they talk of a powerful association with a place and its people.
That sense of connection is felt, too, by people who have never left their native Scotland. Pride in their birthplace, pride in a unique heritage and pride in the global community of people of Scottish ancestry. We may all be, as the Scots dialect puts it ‘a fine mixter-maxter’, but we are all Scottish and proud of it.