The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

If you come to Scotland in August for anything, come for the Military Tattoo. It’s a hell of a show (and since you’re coming here in the first place, I’m going to go ahead and assume you already like bagpipes.)

I’m not a night owl–I’m lame, so there are few things that will tempt me from my cozy home at 10:30 at night, and yet, there I was, climbing to the very top of section 11 in front of Edinburgh Castle, husband in tow, settling in and excitedly waiting for everything to start. It was definitely worth staying up for.

There was a dance paying tribute to tartan weaving:

And a nod to the new Disney/Pixar film Brave (Scotland’s really excited about that)

And, because this is Scotland, we had to be reminded of the fact that this is the land o’whiskey, with one of the prettiest dances of the evening:

The Australians showed up and rocked out. They started off singing and playing some old traditional tunes and then turned the whole arena into a disco as they launched into Highway to Hell. The Australian military is clearly the coolest on earth.


The Americans were playful too, paying tribute to comic book characters and superheroes through the years:

A group of highly talented drummers/Three Musketeers extras from Switzerland paid tribute to binary code:


I’m going to assume that they were tapping out some super-important message in code as well, just to bring it all together. The King’s Guard from Norway was there, just to prove there are no hard feelings over those centuries of Norse invasions:


This part becomes even more impressive when you realize these are not professional soldiers at all, but conscripts doing their compulsory year of military service. Well done, gentlemen! There was also a piece celebrating the industrial revolution in dance that was much cooler than Danny Boyle’s strange phallocentric celebration of earth-rape during the Olympics opening ceremony. Sorry, don’t have video of that one, just take my word for it. And, of course, at the end, everybody came out — bands, dancers, and a shetland pony (sure, why not?) to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in a restaging of her coronation at Westminster Abbey:

After that, we took a few solemn moments to pay tribute to those who have fallen in service to their country (you can’t read it, but the projection on the castle is the tombstone of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey)

And, finally, the pipers played everyone out with a rousing rendition of ‘Scotland the Brave’:

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