Monday, July 7, 2008


Yup, that's right. I've been TATTOO'D.

No, not that kind of tattoo, silly.

Picture a dazzling array of marching and pipes and drums bands (both civilian and military) from Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom. Picture amazing displays of gymnastics and acrobatics. And as an aside, I will say one things for those Trinidians ... they do like to have fun!

Think singers, a multitude of dancers of all disciplines, ranging from the Amethyst Highland Dancers, through the Acadian Baie en Joie dancers, to some spectacular African dancing, accompanied by the Atlantica Gymnasts. Think performers from Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada and the UK.

And let's not forget the military - with obstacle race teams, a Tri-Service Guard and a Naval Boarding Team in action as just a few examples. (Oh yeah, the Ceremonial Guard destroyed the Air Force in the obstacle course competition. Now, if it works anything like it does in the US, why aren't I surprised?)

And what could be more iconically Canadian, with more international recognition, than the sight of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Ceremonial Troop?

But perhaps, most of all, think Pomp and Circumstance.

Hey, the amazing light show on the floor, by itself, was nearly worth the price of admission.

It's the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.

Tattoo Defined The Oxford Canadian Dictionary defines “tattoo” as 1. an evening drum or bugle signal recalling soldiers to their quarters; 2. an elaboration of this with music and marching, presented as entertainment; 3. a rhythmic tapping or drumming.

In Dutch towns and villages during the 17th century, drummers marched through the streets, summoning the soldiers who were spending a little down time in local taverns or inns. A drumbeat–coming from the street–would signal the owners and keepers of the establishments to “turn off the taps” or “doe den tap toe.”

In time, the message was shortened to “tap toe”, and finally “tattoo".

It's the second year we have attended. And although not quite as good as last year (a little too many marching bands, a little not enough military and not as many humorous acts as last year), it was still an amazing show.

This year the Tatoo also commemorated the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War and celebrated the 250th Anniversary of Parliamentary Democracy in Nova Scotia. Halifax, Nova Scotia ... the site of the very first parliamentary democracy in Halifax. Who would have thunk it?

By the way, have you ever seen people do acrobatics and cartwheels through nine turning skipping ropes, laid out like the spokes of a wheel? Pretty cool, I tell ya.

My favourite part of the show, though? When all those in the audience who have served Canada , in any branch of the military or in law enforcement, are asked to stand to be recognized and honoured. Yeah.

Without a doubt, a good time was had by all.

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