The Chief of Clan Hay has compared the clan system to social networking sites, saying that people come to events like The Gathering to meet other people similar to themselves.
The Earl of Erroll said of the clan system: “It stills works because the clan is a family. People want to feel a relationship with someone else. You see that with Facebook, you see it with Friends Reunited, and all those sort of things on the internet that bring people together.
“That’s why the clan system works so strongly, because then people feel part of something, there’s an identity there, so they’re coming back here to meet people with a similar identity.”
The clan chief said the Hays came to fame with clansman Gilbert, who supported Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn. He also explained how the clan are supported by their appeal abroad.
“Like many of the clan societies we find our real strength is America, Australia, New Zealand,” he said.
“It’s that great Scottish Diaspora that went out, because in the agricultural age the fertility of the land didn’t match the fertility of the people, so people just had to go abroad to try and make money, and try and live a decent life.
“People love the Scots, and they still want to come back to their homeland and feel their roots, and what this is really all about is roots.”
In total 400 chiefs and representatives (125 clan chiefs) and 50,000 punters attended The Gathering in Holyrood Park at the weekend, which was part of the this year’s Homecoming celebrations.
They descended on the Scottish capital with their clans for this historic regrouping of exiles from all over the world.