Scotland has a very interesting and rich culture. Its long history has contributed much to the traditions that still stand today. Whether it be its literature, music, art, food, clothing, or sports, Scotland has a lot to offer. Scotland has contributed many novelists and poets to the world of literature. Such poets include Sydney Goodsir Smith, Norman McCaig, Iain Crichton Smith, Edwin Morgan, George Mackay Brown and Robert Garioch (Fraser 185). Poet Sorley Maclean (1911-1996), also known as Somhairle MacGill-Eain in Gaelic, helped to prove that the Gaelic language could have traditional expression (Fraser 185).
Douglas Dunn and Liz Lochhead appeared during the 1960s and 1970s as revered poets of the time (Fraser 185). Within recent years, Robert Crawford, Carol Anne Duffy, and Don Patterson have created their own reputations as Scottish poets (Fraser 185). One of the most notable Scottish writers of all time is Robert Burns (Fraser 185). Known as the immortal Rabbie, Burns wrote the words to Auld Lang Syne, the song sung around the world every New Years Eve (Begley 115). Booker prize winner James Kelman, Alasdar Gray, Iain Banks and Irvine Welsh are also popular novelists and short fiction writers (Fraser 185).
The movie Trainspotting, directed by Danny Boyle and based on Welshs novel of Edinburghs drug culture, has attracted a cult following like that of a rock band (Fraser 186). Sir Walter Scott is also another very famous novelist from Scotland (Scotland). With music from classical to rock to jazz and folk, Scottish musicians are able to attract international audiences (Fraser 186). Known for its versatility and unique programming, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra while folk-rock bands like Runrig successfully combine rock music with traditional Gaelic music and song.
Country-dance music is also very popular among the Scots (Fraser 186). Of course there are few people today who do not equate bagpipes to Scotland. Although the history of the pipes is unknown, the ancient Greeks and the Irish are both known to have had instruments that resembled the bagpipes (Begley 130). It is estimated that the pipes were most likely created by the Romans (Scotland). However, the Scots popularized the instrument be playing it during battle assembly as well as during battle (Begley 130). The fiddle is also a very popular instrument in Scotland (Begley 133).
The greatest fiddler of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was Neil Gow (Begley 133). With so many different types of music came many different styles of dancing. Most Scottish dancing is quick and involves a lot of foot movement (Begley 133). Both men and women dance solo and group Highland dances (Begley 133). The proper footwear is a soft leather heel-less shoe that ties up the leg (Begley 133). Every year for three continuous weeks, a festival called the Edinburgh Festival brings together some of the best musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world (Fisher 6).
This gathering attracts thousands of tourists and has been going on for over half a century (Fisher 6). It is the ultimate cultural event. The fine arts do not have an esteemed tradition in Scotland (Begley 75). The country is known for little artistry but it holds on to what bit it is known for. Scotlands silver was well known in the eighteenth century for its simple lines and expert craftsmanship (Begley 75). Some of the finest Scottish silversmiths contributed to the culture of the New World when they immigrated to North America (Begley 75).
Many contemporary Scottish artists are clinging to he past by pursuing the traditional crafts of weaving, silversmithing, and carving (Begley 75). For the past two hundred years, tea has been the most popular drink in Scotland (Begley 163). Scottish children are given tea from and early age and are often weaned from the bottle to a milky tea mixture (Begley 164). Many Scottish women do a lot of baking at home and are usually good cooks (Begley 164). Most Scots grow their own vegetables for home consumption (Begley 164). Since the climate there is seldom hot, a lot of soups and stews are prepared.
Potatoes are a staple in Scottish cuisine (Begley 165). Many Scots believe that if you dont eat potatoes once a day youll probably wither away and die (Begley 165). A traditional Scottish breakfast includes bacon and fried eggs with sausage, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, fried bread or potato scones (Begley 165). This is all in addition to juice, porridge, cereal, and toast and other bread products (Fisher 7). The most common breakfast item is porridge (Begley 165). Haggis, a type of large sausage, is considered the most Scottish food of all (Begley 165).
A group of Scots called the Highlanders are responsible for creating tartan, which we know as plaid (Begley 29). Scottish men are well known for wearing kilts made of tartan (Begley 29). Scotland is also very famous for other woolens and tweeds (Begley 30). The kilt is specifically a Highland dress, and only about one-third of Scotlands inhabitants are technically entitled to wear it (Begley 34). Women wear a version of the kilt called a kilted skirt that does not use as much material and fits a womans hips much better (Begley 35). When fully dressed in the daytime Highland dress, a man wears the kilt with a lain shirt and tartan tie, a rough tweed jacket, a sporran, woolen hose (knee-sock type), and brogues (Begley 36). The sporran is a purse held by chains that hangs down at the lap (Begley 36). Sporrans come in different styles and are usually made of leather or fur (Begley 36). On his head he can wear either a Balmoral bonnet or a Glengarry (a hat shaped like an upturned rowboat with two ribbons hanging down behind) (Begley 36). For eveningwear, a man would wear a jacket and a shirt with ruffles (Begley 36). The material of the kilt would be uch finer and the shoes much shinier (Begley 36).
A woman may wear a long white dress with a silken tartan sash over her shoulder for eveningwear (Begley 36). You may ask, What do men wear under the kilts? Most wear something under the kilts such as a small pair of matching tartan shorts called trews (Begley 36). Its a different story for men in the army however. These brave souls wear nothing underneath their kilts (Begley 36). There is considerable debate as to who created the game of golf, but theres no doubt that its world popularization stems from Scotland (Fisher 321).
It is thought to have originated in the fifteenth century (Fraser 186). Its name is derived from the Old Scots word gowff, meaning to stroke or strike (Fraser 187). Today, there are more than 400 golf courses in Scotland and only 5 million local residents (Fisher 321). It is very likely that Scotland has the highest ratio of courses to people anywhere in the world (Fisher 321). However, even with all of these golf courses, football- or soccer as we know it- continues to be the most popular sport played and watched in Scotland as in the rest of the world (Fraser 187).
For more than one hundred years, sports fans have been going crazy over the two rival teams, the Celtics and the Rangers (Fisher 103). This rivalry is legendary and attracts fanatical devotion from fans (Fraser 187). The National Rugby teams also attract a lot of support (Fraser 187). An annual event called the Highland Games is held all over Scotland (Fraser 187). It is based on traditional test of strength and skills (Fraser 187). Events include tossing the caber, throwing the hammer and stone, running, jumping, dancing, and piping (Fraser 187).
The first organized games were held in the 1820s and have been exported all around the world into communities of Scottish descent such as Canada, the USA, and New Zealand (Fraser 187). Curling and skiing are popular winter sports that attract thousands to the slopes (Fraser 187). The Highlands also attract thousands of climbers (Fraser 187). Scotland has a very colorful culture. Its moving along with the times but is still holding on to its strong traditions. Scotlands literature, music, art, clothing, food, and sports prove that it is a very culturally developed country.