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Scottish Customs And Traditions

We can barely scratch the surface of Scottish customs and traditions in this article. However, people from all four corners of the globe are aware that we are a country rich in history and culture and that many traditions have spread over the globe. If I asked 1,000 individuals from across the globe what they thought of Scotland or Scottish customs and traditions, we'd receive a wide range of responses.

The landscape for some, whiskey or golf for others, or legends like Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster for others. Others may conjure up images of guys in kilts and Highland dancing, while others may conjure up images of bagpipe music. Some scientists may recall notable Scots' discoveries such as the telephone and television, as well as the discovery of penicillin, while others may recall Andrew Carnegie, the great philanthropist.

Others would be reminded of Scottish customs and traditions such as Hogmanay and, of course, our peculiar speech with the worldwide singing of Auld Lang Syne every New Year — a song composed by our most renowned poet, Rabbie Burns, but few people understand. Expats could reminisce about Burns Suppers or even make their own wherever they are, or they might think of a delicious meal of fish and chips with mushy peas, or a cup of tea with some freshly baked shortbread instead of haggis. However, food and drink are unquestionably important elements of many Scots' customs and traditions.

Scottish Special Occasions And Holidays

Some Scottish customs and traditions are significant to us, and we record them in Scottish diaries every year.

  • Every year on November 30th, St Andrews Day is commemorated. I'm afraid I don't believe we make as much of this as we should.
  • Christmas Traditions: Christmas in Scotland is remarkably similar to Christmas in other parts of the globe.
  • New Year's Eve and Hogmanay-ah! We Scots have our own special Hogmanay traditions. The habit of "First-Footing" and holding a Ceilidh is still quite popular today, and, of course, the singing of Auld Lang Syne has become a worldwide phenomenon.
  • The 25th of January is Burns Night when Scots all over the globe gather to commemorate the life and work of our legendary poet Rabbie Burns with a Burns Supper.
  • The 14th of February is Valentine's Day. It's worth noting that St. Valentine's bones are said to be buried in Glasgow. Learn more about the history of Valentine's Day in Scotland.
  • Moms' Day, also known as "Mothering Sunday," is observed in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom on the fourth Sunday of Lent (exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday). See how Mother's Day evolved in Scotland.
  • Easter is celebrated in Scotland as it is in every Christian nation, hence it is difficult to categorize it as uniquely Scottish customs and traditions. On Easter Sunday, however, one custom is to have a special family supper, with the main entrée nearly always being roasted lamb.

Bridesmaids and groosmen lined up while holding fishing rods for the wedding procession, and a man wearing a plaid while playing a flute is walking
Bridesmaids and groosmen lined up while holding fishing rods for the wedding procession, and a man wearing a plaid while playing a flute is walking

Scottish Food And Drink

The "Piping in of the Haggis" during a Burns Supper is one of many Scottish customs and traditions centered on our cuisine. There are so many iconic Scottish meals that are famous around the world, from the Haggis to the gorgeous flaky shortbread or delicious scones and homemade raspberry jam; from Cullen Skink, the renowned fish soup and Scotch Broth, to Forfar Bridie, the famous Scotch Pie and Lorne Sausage. Other well-known delicacies include Christmas Pudding and Black Bun, as well as Clootie Dumpling, a rich fruit dessert popular around Hogmanay and New Year.

Other Scottish traditions and rituals are, of course, derived from our world-famous whisky (or "whiskey"). Of course, reams have been written on the topic, and specialists will provide you with unrestricted advice on every element of enjoying our national drink, from the sort of glass to use, to the scent, and even the "sipping" of this golden nectar.

Scottish Dress And Highland Games

A Scotsman dressed in full Highland regalia is a sight to see. Perhaps you're not sure what the difference between Plaid and Tartan is, or you're perplexed by kilt accessories like "flashes," or you're just curious about what Scotsmen wear beneath their kilts.

The legendary Highland Games, which take place around the nation throughout the summer months, are also part of the culture. People dressed in national costume may be seen here, and you can watch all of the other events, such as the dancing events or the music competitions, which will be held in other areas of the area, and, of course, the athletic events, particularly the Caber Toss, are a lot of fun to watch.

Scottish Language

Although Gaelic is the language that many people associate with Scotland, it is only spoken by a small percentage of Scots. It is still spoken in the islands and some parts of the Highlands, and there has been a push in recent years to increase the number of Gaelic speakers, with the language being taught in some schools.

However, the Scottish unique dialect of English is the primary communication medium. However, Scottish have their own accent "own" terminology, so we truly speak what I'll refer to as "Scots." However, the ancient "Scots" language of Rabbie Burns has mellowed considerably over the years, and I believe that many Scots today, particularly the young, would struggle to comprehend some of Burns' literary compositions. Even so, numerous terms are unique to Scotland, to the point that dictionaries have been developed to assist others grasp the language.

Of course, each location, like the rest of the UK, has its own unique accent. Glasgowers have a distinct accent from Edinburgh or Aberdeen residents, and certain dialects are so "strong" that even other Scots have trouble understanding them. So, if you're going to go, brush up on your vocabulary and train your ears to pick up new words and phrases.

Flags And Symbols

Scottish customs and traditions are unusual in a way that they have two flags. The Saltire (blue and white cross) of the St Andrews Flag is well-known over the globe, and it also appears on the Union Jack of Great Britain.

However, the Lion Rampart Flag is also used in Scotland. The Celtic Cross (often fashioned into stunning jewelry nowadays) and, of course, famed heather and bluebell flowers are also recognised as particularly Scottish emblems.

Scottish Folklore, Myths And Legends

I can't talk about Scottish traditions and customs without also discussing a few more things that make us renowned. Scotland is rich in folklore, myths, and traditions, from sightings of the Loch Ness Monster to our famed Haggis, ghost stories, and other strange tales.

Scottish Religion

Much of Scotland's customs and traditions date back to the Pictish period, and early Christianity was drastically transformed during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Our religious past has been written about in many books, but I'd want to focus on the present face of religion in Scotland here. The National Church is recognized as the Protestant "Kirk" or "Church of Scotland."

It is estimated that roughly 20% of the population is Roman Catholic. The Protestant Reformation brought Protestants and Catholics into conflict, and although that strife has subsided over time, it has left its impact. Separate schools exist for Catholic and Protestant youngsters, and it has even spread to our two renowned and rival Glasgow football teams, with Protestants supporting Rangers and Catholics supporting Celtic.

Other churches, such as Baptists, Episcopalians, Brethren Assemblies, Quakers, Methodists, Church of Nazarene, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and a range of other independent non-conformist churches, may be found in most areas in the UK.

For a long time, Scotland has had a significant Jewish population, and in recent years, with so many immigrants entering the country, we have seen many other faiths flourish, including Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, to mention a few.

Many individuals have no religious views at all, while others profess to be "Christian" in order to have their children baptized, married, and/or buried in the church, but in fact, have little or no faith in God.

What Are Scottish Beliefs?

It is dedicated to social cohesiveness, equity, and justice. The inscription on the Scottish Mace at the Scottish Parliament exemplifies this, plainly stating to the world that our society is founded on the ideals of wisdom, justice, honesty, and compassion.

Is There A Scottish Culture?

Scotland's culture dates back over a thousand years and is as vibrant now as it has always been. Each generation since the ancient clans of the 12th century has left its cultural imprint, resulting in a distinct and lively nation.

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