Tartan times in Edinburgh

The tradition of the clans and the wearing of the tartan are Scotland ‘s most enduring symbols. Traditional Scottish dress is in vogue, especially with young people. Scotland’s trademark, the tartan, is worn at weddings, funerals, Highland balls, at Rugby games and sometimes just for a pub night. In Edinburgh you can find Tartan almost […]

The tradition of the clans and the wearing of the tartan are Scotland ‘s most enduring symbols. Traditional Scottish dress is in vogue, especially with young people. Scotland’s trademark, the tartan, is worn at weddings, funerals, Highland balls, at Rugby games and sometimes just for a pub night. In Edinburgh you can find Tartan almost on every corner of the city. The most famous spot is the Royal Mile. The tartan is made up of different coloured yarns and woven together to produce a multicoloured product. Each clan member has a number of distinctive patterns to choose from. Since the 17th century specific tartans have been reserved for fami­ly names or clans. But the tartans have been an important part of the Highlands, in any season and this is where much of the inspiration comes from.

There are a lot of old plants that give good colour in Scotland. The myrtle for example, gives deep green. Technically, it is only fitting to wear tartan if you have a clan surname, either on your mother or your father’s side. However if you can t claim clan ancestry, don’t worry. In our days most patterns are recent inventions so you can always invent your own. Tartan is most typical worn as kilt. If you are lucky while walking through Edinburgh you can see men wearing it. Legend says that nothing is ever worn underneath a kilt.

Kilts aren’t cheap. They cost around 300 Pounds each, but they are a life­time investment. Most Scots still have the old clans names, such as Mac­gregor, Macduff, Macdonald or Campbell. The clans were tribes of people, bonded by blood and land. Living together under a single family name, they were entirely modest, living off their own crops and Highland cattle. Very often they got attack by their neighbour clan. This system of local autonomy only survived into the 18th century, as the Highlands had no laws and kings and tax collectors.

Flag: The flag of Scotland is called a Saltire. It symbolises St Andrew, the pat­ron of Scotland. It has been used as a symbol for the struggle of indepen­dence since the middle of the 14th century. The national flag of the United Kingdoms -the Union Jack- also flies in Scotland.

A country that is so multilayered as Scotland, cannot be explained easily, so go there and discover for yourself.
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