There is a great variety of world’s cultures on our planet. Each country, each culture has its own historical values, types and symbols. And Scotland is the brightest example.
Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom (UK) and occupies the northern third of Great Britain. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and Glasgow is its largest city
Scotland occupies the north part of the British Islands and the adjacent islands. But when everymen hear about it, the first associations that come to their minds are bagpipes, so called “Scottish skirts” and Loch Ness monster but not its marvelous mountains, pictures lakes and ancient castles which it is rich in. And it’s not a surprise for me.
Existing perception stereotype of the majority of people very often forces them to have a negative attitude toward the “skirts” or kilts in the men’s national costume. From one side it seems to us inappropriate, from the other side we should take into account that Scots have been defending zealously their rights to wear them for centuries.
That’s why the aim of my work is to explore the history of origin of kilts and its role in the modern society, to vindicate kilts in public eyes, to sew a kilt at ACD classes and to full fill an educational action during the subject English week with demonstration and explanation. I put the following hypothesis on the foundation of my research: to dispel the myth that kilts can’t be the item of clothing uniting past and present.
Why Do Men of Scotland Wear Skirts?
I conducted a survey among the pupils of 7th, 9th and 11th forms. They were asked to answer 3 questions: 1.Where do kilts exist as of part of historic value? 2. What is your attitude to the kilts as a part of the men’s national costume? 3. Do kilts have the place in the modern society? The results you can see on these slides.
1. Where do kilts exist as of part of historic value?
2. What is your attitude to the kilts as a part of the men’s national costume?
3. Do kilts have the place in the modern society?
Taking them into account, I made a conclusion that the younger pupils are, the less they know about the culture of other countries but from the other hand the majority of younger pupils are ready to except kilts as a part of national costumes nowadays.
How did kilts appear?
The word “kilt” originated from the Norse “kjilt” that means plicate and came from Vikings who wore similar clothes but without tartan. Kilts’ history dates back to the 7th century AD. The stone with the image of a man in a kilt is kept in a Scottish village called Higg. This image dated back to this period. The first written mention about kilts appeared in The Middle Ages. At these times it was like a one - piece, six foot long cloth. It was draped into gathers around the waist and was fixed with a broad leather belt. The upper free part of it was thrown over the shoulder and was fixed with a brooch. Such type of kilt was called a Great kilt. From the very beginning kilts were only for highlanders. They were irreplaceable in the Highlands with its rainy climate and mountainous regions. They allowed to move freely, to keep warm and dried quicker in comparison with trousers. They turned into blankets at nights. In the fights, when the warriors needed maximum freedom in movement, they could easily throw kilts away. Great kilts were usually put on above long woolen shirts.
There was a period when Scots were forbidden to wear kilts. It happened in 1745 when they lost the battle for their freedom near Culloden tableland. The punishment for insubordination was very severe. In spite of this the Highlanders went to the streets in kilts wearing trousers on the sticks. Therefor kilts became a symbol of freedom and came into fashion for a full due even among noblemen. The authorities realizing the futility of their affects soon preferred not to pay attention to it. And only after 36 years the Scot Highlanders could freely wear their costumes again. After the Highlanders kilts were soon accepted by inhabitants of the rest flat Scotland.
The next and greatest boost to kilts came from Queen Victoria and her Husband, Prince Albert. They fell in love with Balmoral - the Royal residence on Deeside in Scotland - and with kilts, tartan and all things in the Highlands. Prince Albert designed the now world famous Balmoral tartan.
Balmoral - the Royal residence on Deeside in Scotland
Tartan or “Scottish checkered pattern” means the colour of the territory. Each clan designed its own set of tartan. Jugging by the amount of colours people identify the social status of a person: 1 for servants, 2 for farmers, 3 for officers, 5 for warlord, 6 for poets, 7 for chief. Besides there is a great variety of tartans: Clan tartans, Chief tartans for the leaders of clans, Mourning tartans usually black and white, Hunting tartans, District tartans and so on.
During the 1800s, the wearing of Great kilts began to be exchanged for that of “new” kilts because their wearing was inconvenient. A “new”, little kilt design became popular, and it consisted of a plaid which had the traditional pleats permanently sewn in place, and separated the lower from the upper half, allowing the upper section to be removed when it became convenient.
Kilts nowadays .
Now, in the 21st century, little has changed. Fascinated by their heritage, more and more Scots and Scots' descendants around the world, eagerly research their genealogy and designed their own family tartan. They put them on for special occasions such as wedding, sport competitions, musical festivals. Wearing a kilt is a veneration to traditions. But for every day wearing men prefer trousers.
How I made a kilt of my own.
Pattern of Kilts
I tried to sew a kilt myself at ACD classes when we were studying a section “Sewing clothes from textiles”. It turned out to be a very difficult task. I came across such problems as the absence of necessary type of clothes, that’s why I had to take a half-woolen one and the tartan is only an imitation of original pattern. But the most difficult things were plications because the checks should match vertically and horizontally. But it was an unforgettable experience.
As you can see kilts are symbol of freedom, courage, aspiration to defend identity and even stubbornness of real Highlanders referring to the history. Scots have been honoring their traditions for centuries and one of them is kilt. I think it is a perfect example how the item of clothing can unite past and present. I’ve sewn a kilt and I’m going to demonstrate it during our subject week of English at our school. Thank you for your attention.
И. Новаш «Путеводитель для детей и их родителей» Новег – 2012г.-192с.
Биркхан Г. Кельты: история и культура.- М., 2007
Дуглас Дж. Легенды и предании Шотландии/ Пер. с англ. М.: Центрполиграф, 2008
Мак - Кензи А. Кельтская Шотландия. – М.: «Вече», 2008