Scotland | As foretold in scripture: ‘The queen of the South will rise up …’

Like the football team, the festival suggests a tradition older than what can actually be documented. A librarian, according to the BBC, invented the festival in 1932 as a riposte to such communal events in the Borders. The first “Queen of the South” football club, the Wanderers, formed in 1873 but is not related to the present side, which in 1919 amalgamated three area teams into a new Queen of the South United. The “United” quietly dropped from use.

But though the historical traces might be weak, there is no shame in milking the literary allusion to the messianic figure of Christianity and to the ancient kingdom of Sheba, located in Marib, a Yemeni province in southern Arabia. From Sheba came the finest aromatics of the second millennium BCE: frankincense, a white resin obtained from trees, and myrrh, harvested from bushes. The queen of Sheba’s gifts to Solomon of gold, spice and gems thus prefigure Jesus’ birth narrative: gifts across time to two different Israelite kings.

And, if you like, she also serves as the mysterious eponym of a Scottish football club with eyes on European competition. Borne by dromedaries in caravan, this queen is up for the cup.


Despite suffering a “bizarre bout of beginners’ nerves,” Queen of the South fought back in the Scottish Cup final on 24 May to equalize. Nevertheless, Rangers prevailed 3–2.

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Donhamer:

    If you pay attention to Queen’s history you should be able to see that they are not currently punching above their weight. Granted the cup final is an exception. However, it is only with Willie Harkness becoming chairman in 1967 that the club went into stagnation and decline. Since his departure in 1994 the club have been rebuilding steadily. While the league season of 1999/2000 was disappointing the revival back to the top half of Scottish football as they were pre-Harkness is the harvest of the efforts put in at the club in the post-Harkness era.

  2. Top 10 Sources for Intelligent Football Coverage | EPL Talk:

    [...] writes about stories you won’t find elsewhere such as amputee soccer players in Liberia, the connection between Queen of the South football team and the bible, and remembering New Jersey’s soccer immigrant [...]

  3. General Lee:

    The semi-final … what a day! Doonhamer before and Don-hamer after … brilliant! What made it a great day was the way we and the Aberdeen fans could have a bit of crack together after the game.

    Coincidences and symbolism. All footies are superstitious, aren’t we?

    We are the South. Iffen we whoop [... Rangers ...] next month we are fulfillin’ a biblical prophecy, how about that?

  4. Doonhamer:

    First (to all) apologies for the typo in my zeal to add my comment (it should of course have been signed as Doonhamer).

    I have to agree on the comments about the Dons fans in defeat. A credit to Aberdeen, to Scotland and to football. I wish them well.

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