IT is one of Scotland’s most significant dates but it is not immune to the coronavirus pandemic, so many of the events to mark today’s 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath have been moved into the digital world.

Virtual celebrations are being led by the Scottish Independence Movement (SIM) who have urged people to link up through their Facebook page at 1320 where they can hear Paul Kavanagh – aka Wee Ginger Dug – explain what the day means for Scotland and “how important and timely our fight is for us now and for the future of this prized nation”.

SIM said the document is the most important in Scotland’s history for two reasons: “Firstly, it set the will and the wishes of the people above the King and, secondly, the manifesto affirmed the nation’s independence in a way no battle could, and justified it with a truth that is beyond nation and race.”

A march and rally organised by All Under One Banner (AUOB) in Arbroath on Saturday was postponed last month over pandemic fears, but celebrations still went ahead online.

The Round Table 1329 staged a digital rally streamed on several platforms, which opened with Hollywood actor Angus MacFadyen.

He has played Robert the Bruce on the big screen and read a translation of the Declaration from Latin.

This was followed by a series of live music performances, illustrated with images of recent pro-independence rallies.

Songs included traditional favourites such as Scots Wha Ha’e, as well as a new take on an old favourite when “You cannae shove yer granny aff a bus” was reworded: “You cannae let your granny catch the bug”.

A live ceilidh was also streamed online on Saturday night.

READ MORE: More than half of Scots haven’t heard of Declaration of Arbroath

Today’s launch of an anthology of prose and verse to mark the anniversary – a joint venture between the Scottish centre of the freedom of speech group PEN International and Scotland Street Press – also had to move online.

More than 50 writers feature in the book, writing on a range of themes all exploring freedom of expression.

Historian and author Sir Tom Devine introduced the anthology, which features James Robertson and Chitra Ramaswamy, along with other authors from Scotland and across the globe.

Today, three prize winners from the published pieces, selected by Professor Emeritus Devine, will be announced on social media.

In a preface to the anthology, he said: “I was honoured to be invited to help to judge the entries for Scottish PEN’s writing competition to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath and to select the three best submissions in poetry and prose.

“The Declaration is now regarded across the world as the most eloquent statement of the right to national self-determination ever written.

“What better way to celebrate this noble expression of human freedom than by asking the writers of Scotland to present their own views in 2020 on the time-honoured principles of that remarkable document and their relevance today?”

Visitangus, which helped organise events for the anniversary, said that given its importance for the community in Scotland and internationally, postponing the festival to mark it was the best way to maintain its significance, as well as provide an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate at a later date.

READ MORE: Author's illustrated Declaration of Arbroath is labour of love

Pippa Martin, creative producer of the Place Partnership and Arbroath 2020 Festival, said: “In these unprecedented times, ultimately the first priority for everyone involved is the health and safety of the public. The community and partner effort to achieve the Festival so far has been unbelievable. ”

Frank McElhinney, a fine art photographer with a first degree in Medieval History, was due to have an exhibition at Trongate 103 to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. This will now be hosted online today by Street Level Photoworks.

There will also be a live online interview with McElhinney and Malcolm Dickson, director of Street Level Photoworks, on Thursday evening.

Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of The National is at stake. Please consider supporting us through this with a digital subscription from just £2 for 2 months by following this link: Thanks – and stay safe.