Tonight is Burns Night, when Scottish people everywhere (not just in Scotland) celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most famous exports and the Bard of Scotland. And because I’m so fascinated by Scottish culture and especially Nova Scotia, I’ve drawn this little masterpiece of my imagining of Scotland and his sons across the pond in Canada, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island from A Mare Usqua Mare, my fan-series based on the Japanese animated series Axis Powers: Hetalia! (Even though technically Cape Breton is Nova Scotia’s son, and so Scotland would be his grandfather.) (See the Canadian Boys fifth anniversary post for background on Hetalia and A Mare Usqua Mare.)
Each character takes their real name from the capital of their homeland. In this case, Scotland is named Edward (from Edinburgh), Nova Scotia is named Hal (from Halifax), and Cape Breton is named Syd (from Sydney. Not Sydney in Australia, but Sydney in Nova Scotia, the largest city on Cape Breton Island and the second-largest in Nova Scotia after Halifax). In the world of Hetalia, the countries have real names, so technically they’re not really personifications of their home countries, but rather just stereotypes of who the people from their homeland are.
If you have sharp enough eyesight, you may notice a common theme amongst the lands’ flags – they all have crosses, or saltires, on them. Scotland’s saltire is the Cross of St. Andrew, his patron saint (you can read more about Andy here), and so naturally Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, having sizeable Scottish populations, decided to follow in their father’s lead and adopt a saltire on their own flags. In the process of designing his own flag, however, Nova Scotia found that the design was already being used for a similar flag in Russia, and so he had to add Scotland’s coat of arms – a red lion on an orange shield – onto his flag to avoid confusion. Essentially, however, it is a simple reversion of the colours on Scotland’s flag – white and blue instead of blue and white. Cape Breton’s flag is green, possibly because of the emerald highlands of his home isle. It is rightfully so that all three of these flags should reflect their shared Scottish culture and heritage.
A very Happy Burns Night to Scottish folks across the globe.
Auld Lang Syne!