Scottish Culture

Scottish Culture



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 Year’s 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 Welsh’s novel of
Edinburgh’s 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. Scotland’s 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
the 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 don’t eat potatoes once a day you’ll 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