Nothing off-kilter: Glad in plaid, lots of Scots celebrate

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Nothing off-kilter: Glad in plaid, lots of Scots celebrate

The best reason to be Scottish in Korea is the annual St. Andrew's Ball. Last Saturday, the grand ballroom of the Renaissance hotel in southern Seoul hosted the yearly bash thrown by the St. Andrew's Society Seoul, a club for Scots and expats of Scottish descent.

The Korean branch of the society, which is named after the apostle Scotland chose for its patron saint, celebrated its 25th anniversary at the ball. Signs of Scottish traditions abounded: Proud Scotsmen went about in kilts while their dance partners and dining tables were covered in tartan plaids.

The society chooses a new chieftain each year. This year's leader, Ken Gibson, proposed the first toast, and proceeded to make sure that the Scots and their non-Scottish guests enjoyed plentiful shots of Glenfiddich and Clan Campbell. The guests of honor were the new U.S. ambassador Thomas Hubbard and Enid Humfrey, the wife of the British ambassador Charles Humfrey.

More than 150 revelers feasted on a sumptuous three-hour, eight-course meal, featuring haggis - a traditional Scottish dish of sheep's organs mixed with ground oatmeal, onions and spices and served in the sheep's pluck, or stomach. In addition to the copious whiskey, Moet & Chandon and Chardonnay were served.

At midnight, the ladies doffed their high heels in favor of flats, and some of them even went out in bare feet to reel along to a traditional band imported from the mother country for the occasion. The ensemble, the Simon Howie Scottish Country Dance Band, piped out lively tunes until the wee hours of the morn. When did the celebrations stop? Not until 4 a.m. - which is the proper time for an early breakfast, Scottish-style, of course.

by Inēs Cho

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