Happy International Bagpipe Day! A whole day when we celebrate pipes, piping, and pipers. So make sure you hug a piper today—better yet, buy them a drink. The following is from Nationaltoday.com (I don't vouch for the veracity, especially the claim that Nero played the bagpipes while Rome burned—we all know he played a fiddle, because that's the kind of thing a fiddler would do). Anyway, enjoy the day!
INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY, MARCH 10, 2023
International Bagpipe Day is held annually on March 10. Can you believe that bagpipes date back to 400 B.C., and are thought to have originated from Egypt, with the first players known as pipers of Thebes? Bagpipes are distinct and unique musical instruments that hold a special place in certain parts of Europe, such as Scotland and Ireland.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY
A bagpipe is a type of woodwind instrument that consists of several parts including the air supply blowpipe, the bag, the chanter, the chanter reed, and the drone or drones. The chanter is the melody pipe that can be played by the piper, whereas the drone or drones provide a constant note. It has a long and rich history that dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt.
In the early part of the second millennium, clear evidence of bagpipes began to appear frequently in Western European art and iconography. They were also popular subjects for carvers of wooden choir stalls throughout Europe in the late 15th century and early 16th century.
Andy Letcher and Cassandre Balosso-Bardin co-founded International Bagpipe Day with the International Bagpipe Organization and the Bagpipe Society. Since 1986, the Bagpipe Society has been actively involved in bringing together new bagpipe players in order to preserve the history and practice of bagpipes. Cassandre came up with the idea of organizing a bagpipe conference as part of his efforts to promote the diversity of bagpipes to a wider audience.
The First International Bagpipe Conference, which gathered musicians and instrument makers from all over Europe, launched International Bagpipe Day worldwide. Thousands of pipers around the world now celebrate the day every year, with many local pipers organizing events in places such as Harvard (U.S.), Glasgow (U.K.), Haninge (Sweden), Minsk (Belarus), Iran, and Nigeria.
5 FACTS ABOUT BAGPIPES THAT WILL FASCINATE YOU
1. Varied in materials of construction
They were traditionally made from whole animal skin, often a sheep's skin, but in modern times, are usually made with artificial fabric such as Gore-Tex.
2. It was loved by a Roman Emperor
The ancient Roman emperor Nero was a notorious piper, who is said to have played the bagpipes as Rome burned
3. Once an instrument of warfare
They were originally used to scare off enemies on the battlefield, and are the only known musical instrument in history to have been used in war.
4. It is popular in the U.S.
These days, bagpiping has become so popular that there are more bagpipe bands in the U.S. than there are in Scotland.
5. It is symbolic
Over the years, the bagpipe has become a symbol of mourning for fallen heroes, especially firefighters and policemen.