A Brief Guide To Scottish Culture
Scottish culture is filled with bits and pieces of historic events, traditions, and popular customs. Whilst many of these exist, a few of those bits and pieces that are quite distinctive are presented here.
Authentic Scottish Haggis
Authentic traditional Scottish haggis is a tasty dish that is typically made from the innards or heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep. Sometimes it is made from the innards of a calf or from chitterlings and tripe. These ingredients are minced and mixed with oatmeal, suet, onions, broth, and spices. Traditional haggis was boiled in a sheep’s stomach and served piping hot. Today, lamb is often mixed in for some haggis recipes and natural casings are used instead of the sheep’s stomach. Haggis is often served at Scottish celebratory meals, Burns Dinners, and at everyday meals occasionally throughout the year.
Traditional Scottish dancing includes two popular forms, the Sword Dance and the Highland Fling. The Sword Dance is a military dance that was originally performed on the night before a battle was to take place.
The Sword Dance is often a part of the festivities at the Highland Games. The Highland Fling is a style of dance that involves a great deal of technique and timing in order to be performed properly. While it is thought to have begun as a dance upon a clansman’s shield, today it is a staple at Scottish competitions.
Lots of different styles of bagpipes exist in numerous countries across the globe. Scottish bagpipes, however, have the distinction of being used by the Scottish military during official events. Scottish bagpipes include a chanter, three individual drones, and a leather bag. Bagpipes in other countries often include only two drones.
The Highland Games
The Highland Games provides a day of excitement and adventure for all those who participate or attend. Typically, the Highland Games include the stone put, the weight for height, the weight for distance, and the tossing of the caber. Of course, you are likely to see the dancers and listen to the pipers.
The stone put involves the throwing of a heavy stone over as long a distance as possible. The weight for height involves the tossing of a heavy metal weight over a cross bar. Only one hand can be used during this event. The weight for distance involves the tossing of a heavy weight across as great a length as possible. Again, only a single hand can be used to toss the weight. The tossing of the caber involves the tossing of a 12 to 19-foot log using a particular technique.
The Scottish Flag
As legend has it, the Scottish flag has its origin during the battle of the Scottish people against the Northumbrian army during 832 AD. During this battle, the Scottish king prayed for guidance, asking for help from Saint Andrew.
This king swore that Saint Andrew would become the patron saint of Scotland if the Scottish army won the battle. Supposedly, this king also saw a saltire in the skies above him at the time. The saltire, an x-shaped cross is emblazoned on a field of blue on the national flag of Scotland. Saint Andrew died as a martyr on an x-shaped cross.