Highland Games have been regarded for many years as being one of the strongest expressions of "Scottishness". Around one hundred Games are held in Scotland each year, as well as many hundreds more around the world.
But where and how did the Highland Games actually originate?
The first historical reference to Highland Games-type events was made during the reign of King Malcolm III (1057-1093), when the King summoned men to race up Craig Choinnich near Braemar in order to find a royal messenger.
It is said that Highland Games became a way of choosing the ablest men for the Clan Chieftain's household, which not only encompassed challenges to determine brute strength, but also of dance and musicianship in order to add prestige to the household.
Through Scottish migration in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the traditions and practice of Highland Games spread through numerous parts of the world. Like many other Commonwealth countries, New Zealand holds a number of annual Highland Games: including the Turakina Highland Games and Waipu Highland Games, which both have their origins in the 19th century.
For more information about the origins and history of Highland Games, check out the article from The Scotsman "A History of the Scottish Highland Games" : http://www.scotsman.com/heritage/people-places/a-history-of-the-scottish-highland-games-1-4132939