Hallowe'en,Uisge Beatha,Toasts,Highland Clothing,Highland Games,Shortbread, 17th Century Education, Old Customs
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by Robert Burns

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear,
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween
Fu' blithe that night.

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat,
Mair braw than when they're fine;
Their faces blithe, fu' sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, and warm, and kin';
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs,
Weel knotted on their garten,
Some unco blate, and some wi' gabs,
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin'
Whiles fast at night.

Then, first and foremost, through the kail,
Their stocks maun a' be sought ance;
They steek their een, and graip and wale,
For muckle anes and straught anes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
And wander'd through the bow-kail,
And pou't, for want o' better shift,
A runt was like a sow-tail,
Sae bow't that night.

Then, staught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar and cry a' throu'ther;
The very wee things, todlin', rin,
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther;
And gif the custoc's sweet or sour.
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Syne cozily, aboon the door,
Wi cannie care, they've placed them
To lie that night.

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a'
To pou their stalks of corn:
But Rab slips out, and jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippet Nelly hard and fast;
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
When kitlin' in the fause-house
Wi' him that night.

The auld guidwife's well-hoordit nits,
Are round and round divided,
And monie lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindle coothie, side by side,
And burn thegither trimly;
Some start awa, wi' saucy pride,
And jump out-owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.

Jean slips in twa wi' tentie ee;
Wha 'twas she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, and this is me,
She says in to hersel:
He bleezed owre her, and she owre him,
As they wad never mair part;
Till, fuff! he started up the lum,
And Jean had e'en a sair heart
To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
And Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,
To be compared to Willie;
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling,
And her ain fit it brunt it;
While Willie lap, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel and Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
Till white in ase they're sobbin';
Nell's heart was dancin' at the view,
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonny mou',
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea'es them gashin' at their cracks,
And slips out by hersel:
She through the yard the nearest taks,
And to the kiln goes then,
And darklins graipit for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue throws then,
Right fear't that night.

And aye she win't, and aye she swat,
I wat she made nae jaukin',
Till something held within the pat,
Guid Lord! but she was quakin'!
But whether 'was the deil himsel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She didna wait on talkin'
To spier that night.

Wee Jennie to her grannie says,
"Will ye go wi' me, grannie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass
I gat frae Uncle Johnnie:"
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
In wrath she was sae vap'rin',
She notice't na, an aizle brunt
Her braw new worset apron
Out through that night.

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
I daur you try sic sportin',
As seek the foul thief ony place,
For him to spae your fortune.
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a ane has gotten a fright,
And lived and died deleeret
On sic a night.

"Ae hairst afore the Sherramoor, --
I mind't as weel's yestreen,
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure
I wasna past fifteen;
The simmer had been cauld and wat,
And stuff was unco green;
And aye a rantin' kirn we gat,
And just on Halloween
It fell that night.

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
A clever sturdy fallow:
His son gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,
That lived in Achmacalla:
He gat hemp-seed, I mind it weel,
And he made unco light o't;
But mony a day was by himsel,
He was sae sairly frighted
That very night."

Then up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck,
And he swore by his conscience,
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;
For it was a' but nonsense.
The auld guidman raught down the pock,
And out a hanfu' gied him;
Syne bade him slip frae 'mang the folk,
Some time when nae ane see'd him,
And try't that night.

He marches through amang the stacks,
Though he was something sturtin;
The graip he for a harrow taks.
And haurls it at his curpin;
And every now and then he says,
"Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
And her that is to be my lass,
Come after me, and draw thee
As fast this night."

He whistled up Lord Lennox' march
To keep his courage cheery;
Although his hair began to arch,
He was say fley'd and eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
And then a grane and gruntle;
He by his shouther gae a keek,
And tumbled wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!
And young and auld came runnin' out
To hear the sad narration;
He swore 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
Or crouchie Merran Humphie,
Till, stop! she trotted through them
And wha was it but grumphie
Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen,
To win three wechts o' naething;
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:
She gies the herd a pickle nits,
And two red-cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That very nicht.

She turns the key wi cannie thraw,
And owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawnie gies a ca'
Syne bauldly in she enters:
A ratton rattled up the wa',
And she cried, Lord, preserve her!
And ran through midden-hole and a',
And pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night;

They hoy't out Will wi' sair advice;
They hecht him some fine braw ane;
It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice
Was timmer-propt for thrawin';
He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak,
For some black grousome carlin;
And loot a winze, and drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin'
Aff's nieves that night.

A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlin;
But, och! that night amang the shaws,
She got a fearfu' settlin'!
She through the whins, and by the cairn,
And owre the hill gaed scrievin,
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burn
To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
Was bent that night.

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As through the glen it wimpl't;
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays;
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't;
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.

Among the brackens, on the brae,
Between her and the moon,
The deil, or else an outler quey,
Gat up and gae a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool!
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit;
but mist a fit, and in the pool
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies three are ranged,
And every time great care is ta'en',
To see them duly changed:
Auld Uncle John, wha wedlock joys
Sin' Mar's year did desire,
Because he gat the toom dish thrice,
He heaved them on the fire
In wrath that night.

Wi' merry sangs, and friendly cracks,
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery;
Till butter'd so'ns, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a-steerin';
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,
They parted aff careerin'
Fu' blythe that night.



- by Christine Tumbull (Fall Issue - November 2001)
(Sources for this were the Scottish Banner and the Little Book of Scottish Folklore, and Traditional Scottish Nursery Rhymes.)

Hallowe'en is a well-known tradition celebrated in North America as an evening of costume and trick or treat. In Scotland there is a deeper meaning, as it was once the great Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced SAH-wen), Summers End or Death of the Year. The many customs and legends surrounding the evening of October 31, followed by All Saints Day or All Hallow's Eve, were a strange combination of those two ancient pagan holidays, and the more modern Christian one.

The ancient Celts had an eight-part year that reflected the natural procession of the seasons. The days on which seasons ended and began were occasions for community gathering and feasts. An important autumn celebration marked the end of the harvest, when agricultural work ceased and the dark winter months began. October 31 marked the start of the Dark Year, and Hallowmas, an early name for All Saints Day, was the Scottish New Year. In many places Samhain was treated as the New Year, with similar celebrations to Hogmanay, but without the same good cheer, as the hard times of winter were on their way.

A chief characteristic of the holiday was that ghosts or goblins from the" Otherworld" could return to earth and roam freely. It was believed that some were likely to take vengeance on their descendants. Providing food to appease dead ancestors was an important part of the festival. Soul cakes and oat wafers were baked to set out for any returning relatives and also to give to children who went from door to door in costumes, "souling", asking for treats. It was important to treat everyone encountered with courtesy - especially strangers, who might be visitors from the Otherworld. It was also a time to rid the world of any evil spirits who might be lurking about to arrive with the cold weather. To scare these creatures away and to honour the Sun God in thanksgiving for the harvest, the Druids burned large bonfires through the night. They also donned grotesque masks and black and orange costumes to frighten unwanted spirits.

Witches, accompanied by their friends, the black cats, fairies and leprechauns all came out in full force on Hallowe'en. Queer noises, shadows and figures were everywhere and the holiday was always a time for mystery. The spirits, it was believed, had great prophetic powers. Thus, a fun part of the holiday became the telling of futures, oftentimes to do with romance and future mates. Ducking for apples afloat in a tub of water had a definite purpose. Any girl able to catch an apple with her teeth and who put it under her pillow would dream of her future husband. Love matches were determined by the burning of nuts. Three nuts, named for boy or girl lovers, were placed over fires and carefully watched. The nut that caught fire foretold an avid courtship that would fade away. The nut that cracked predicted quarrels and separation. Any two nuts burning quietly beside each other indicated marriage in a year. Something my mother often did after Hallowe'en, as my sister and I had collected many apples, was to make apple pies. As she peeled the apples she would tell me that if the peel could be taken off in one piece, it should be thrown over your shoulder. When it landed it would form the first letter of the name of your future husband. Recently I discovered that this too was an old Scottish Hallowe'en tradition. For the Game of Three Huggies, blind folded boys were led to three dishes of water to see which each would touch. The clean one meant he would marry a maiden; the dirty one, a widow; and the empty one, nobody.

Fare for All Hallow's Eve included the harvest's bounty of vegetables, fruit and grain. One favorite was a large bowl of Crowdie or Chappit potatoes, a mixture of creamy mashed potatoes and green onions in which good luck tokens and coins were hidden. In the Highlands it was called Colcannon. Some Scots still make Hallowe'en Cakes that are shaped like apples or pumpkins or plain rounds with orange and black frosting. Charms are hidden in them foretelling the future: a ring predicted marriage, a button for a bachelor, a thimble for a spinster, a horseshoe for good luck, and a coin for wealth.

Many of our Hallowe'en traditions followed today are seen in these ancient Celtic and Druid practices. I am sure that this year, when we carve the pumpkin, frost our Halloween cookies in orange and black, or see the children at the door in their costumes, we will see things in a much different light.

Here is a recipe for the favorite Hallowe'en dish, Highland Colcannon:
4 medium potatoes
3 medium-large carrots scraped and quartered.
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 head cabbage shredded
3/4 cup warm milk
10 green onions, with some tops, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Peel and halve the potatoes. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan with about 2 inches of boiling salted water. Cook slowly covered until tender. Transfer to a large bowl; mash with 2-tbsp. butter. Meanwhile, put cabbage into vegetable liquid. Cook slowly covered until tender but crisp. Transfer cabbage to mixture in bowl. Add hot milk and remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper, add onions and parsley and mix well. Serve each portion with a pat of butter in centre if desired.

Traditional Scottish Children's Nursery Rhymes:

Tellastory, Sing a sang;
Dae a dance, Or oot ye gang.

Rise up auld wife and shak your feathers
And dinna think that we are beggars
For we are bairnies come to play
And we maun hae oor Hogmanay

(This poem indicated that in Celtic times the New Year was celebrated on October 31 at the time of Hallowe'en.)


During a trip to Scotland in 1974, we visited the Black Isle (among many other places). On a circular tour by bus, we stopped at the side of the road near Munlochy to observe a Clootie Well. This particular well was little more than a circular pipe, barely 30 cm across, at ground level. The nearby fence and bushes were adorned with white cloths of various sizes. It is said that, when you tie your handkerchief or a piece of clothing to a fence or tree limb by a Clootie Well, your troubles and sorrows are left behind and you are granted happiness and good fortune thereafter.

Clootie has a double meaning. It can mean a cloth, such as the kind you might use to prepare a "Clootie Dumpling". It can also refer to the word "cloot", which Scots use for a cloven hoof ... so that "Auld Clootie" is "Old Cloven-foot" or the Devil. The term is used in the poem, "Address to the Deil", by Robert Burns in 1785.

In the local folklore of the Black Isle, a hare or rabbit could be a witch or auld Clootie in disguise. The misty origins, folklore and superstitions of Hallowe'en or Samhain are not far off.

On the first Sunday in May, "pilgrims" make their way from all over Scotland to a "clootie well" on Culloden Moor. There the pilgrim "silvers" the well with a coin, drinks and makes a wish, and after leaving fixes a "cloot" (a small piece of his garment) on a nearby bush for good luck.

- J. Douglas Ross "Holiday in Scotland, Summer ~ 1974"

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UISGE BEATHA (The Water of Life)

- by Ian Ross (Newsletter Issue - July, 2001)

It is said that Scotsmen have no respect for age, unless it's bottled.

Most Rosses will take a drink wherever they can find it... especially if it's someone else buying! If there is a Scotch whisky that can claim a close relationship to Clan Ross it must be the single malt from Glenmorangie (rhymes with "orangey"). This distillery is located on the north bank of the Dornoch estuary, close to the Royal Borough of Tain, in the heart of Easter Ross.

The writer recently had the pleasure of attending a whisky tasting where the products of the Glenmorangie Distillery were featured. We learned that the barley used in the distillery comes mainly from the Black Isle. The water comes from the Tarlogie springs, just above the distillery. Unlike the heavily peated water of an Islay malt, this water rises through layers of chalk and sandstone, becoming rich in mineral salts. The company's copper alambic stills are unique: smaller in capacity than is customary in Scotland, they have a boiling kettle and are the tallest in the country.

The distillery's coastal location, with its moderate climate, permits an extended aging period. The distillery has found that their traditional aging process, using American white oak bourbon casks from the Ozarks of Missouri, produces its best results with a 10-year aging period. Their Ten Year Old Single Highland Malt has a bright, pale-amber hue... typical of whisky matured in bourbon casks. The fresh, flowery fruitiness of the aroma turns into a more honey, wood taste... all of which are creamy, yet clear and sprightly, with a hint of smokiness.

It was very interesting to try two other versions with very different characteristics, achieved by using different barrels in the final aging process. Glenmorangie Port Wood Finish has a colour of antique gold with a rosy hue, achieved when its 12 years of maturation in American white oak is followed by several years finishing in used Ruby Port pipes (barrels) from Portugal. Its aroma provides hints of butterscotch and dark chocolate. Its texture is like sipping velvet. We then tried Glenmorangie Sherry Wood Finish. Its light gold colour belies its full-bodied flavour, achieved by following its 12 years in oak with several years finishing in used sherry butts (casks) from Spain. It has a complex aroma of sherry and honey. The taste is warm and pleasant, with a long-lasting aftertaste.

I understand there is a Madeira Wood Finish also available in some parts of Canada. It apparently has the deepest colour, with flavour overtones of burnt chocolate!

The evening was quite enjoyable, but I couldn't help thinking how it might have seemed to some of my wild ancestors. They were happy enough to get a jug of hooch straight from the still (hidden up in the hills away from the revenue agents). Aging for 10,12 years or more? Not likely. Better in the mouth than in the barrel! And a velvety taste? Not in your life. The more fire in the whisky, the better. Just as well that times have changed!

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- Collected from several sources by J. Douglas Ross

At most social functions in Scotland a toast will be proposed at the appropriate moment. So, for any occasion there is always a suitable toast which can range from the serious to the lighthearted. Fortunately, the Scots have always had a twinkle in their eye and the majority of toasts usually raise the spirits of the assembled company.

Here's a small selection of traditional toasts and graces which are still widely used in Scotland today. Where dialect is used some relevant words have been translated.

Deoch slainte! (Good health! = a proper toast involving the "water of life")
Slainte mhòr agad! (Great health to you!)
Tapadh leat (Success to you)
Sonas agus beartas (Happiness and riches)
Ceud Mile Failte (A hundred thousand welcomes)
Lang may yer lum reek (Long may your chimney smoke) In Edinburgh they add "wi' someone else's coal!" to this old Scots toast.

The Selkirk Grace

This was penned by Robert Burns and is a grace said before eating at many Scottish gatherings, especially the traditional Burns Suppers held throughout the world on January 25.

Some hae meat, and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit.

The Poet's Graces

A pair of graces by Burns, one said before a meal and one afterwards.

O Thou who kindly dost provide
For every creature's want!
We bless Thee, God of Nature wide,
For all thy goodness lent.
And, if it please Thee, heavenly Guide,
May never worse be sent;
But, whether granted or denied,
Lord bless us with content.

(After the meal)

O Thou, in whom we live and move,
Who made the sea and shore;
Thy goodness constantly we prove,
And grateful would adore;
And if it please Thee, Power above!
Still grant us with such store
The friend we trust, the fair we love,
And we desire no more.

Here's Tae Us

Here's tae us
Wha's like us
Damn few,
And they're a' deid
Mair's the pity!

There's Nae Luck Aboot the Hoose

This is a popular toast by Allan Ramsay of Ayr.

May the best you've ever seen
Be the worst you'll ever see;
May a moose ne'er leave yer girnal
Wi' a teardrop in his e'e.
May ye aye keep hale and hearty
Till ye're auld enough tae dee,
May ye aye be just as happy
As I wish ye aye tae be.
(girnal= meal chest; moose= mouse)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~More Toasts~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
May those who live truly be always believed,
And those who deceive us be always deceived.

Here's to the men of all classes,
Who through lasses and glasses
Will make themselves asses!

I drink to the health of another,
And the other I drink to is he
In the hope that he drinks to another,
And the other he drinks to is me.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand
And may his great prosperity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

Here's A Bottle

Here's a bottle and an honest man!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o' care, man?

Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man.
Believe me happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man!
--------------- Robert Burns

Here's Looking at You

Here's to me and here's to you,
And if in the world
There was just us two
And I could promise that nobody knew
Would you?

Jacobite toasts were popular and this is one of the better known ones.

Weel may we a' be
Ill may we never see;
Here's to the King
And the gude companie.
Here's a health to them that's away,
Here's a health to them that's away,
Here's a health to them that were here shortsyne,
An, canna be here today.

And if you really want to confuse your guests, try this!

Here's to all those that I love.
Here's to all those that love me.
And here's to all those that love those that I love,
And all those that love those that love me.

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- based on numerous reliable sources, by Ian Ross (March 2001 Issue)

You may have been asked, "What is Scotland's national costume?" My usual reply is, "There's no one thing. People wear whatever they want for Hallowe'en!" However, if they want to know about Scottish Highland clothing, I describe the kilt. My point is that the kilt should be considered an ordinary piece of everyday wear, not a costume reserved for a museum display or rare formal occasions.

First, a little history. Once our ancestors got through with wearing animal skins, and living in bogs and caves, there were three broad eras of Highland clothing.


Most folks wore a long saffron-coloured rough linen shirt or smock called a leine, with a small cloak or woolen mantle over the shoulders called a brat. Women's were longer than men's. The common-folk typically went barelegged and barefooted (which is why a Highlander would be called "red shanks"). Underwear was unheard of. A noble or officer would wear a longer cloak and rough animal-hide boots.

By the 8th century, there had evolved the Highland trews. These were tight fitting leggings, complete with feet, of woven cloth. They were great for cold weather and for riding a horse. They were NOT trousers.


Why 1594? Very simply, that is the first written description of the clothing worn by some Highland soldiers who had gone to Ireland to fight the English. They wore a great big long piece of woolen material, woven in symmetrical cross-stripes, that they used as a sleeping bag by night and wrapped around themselves by day. It was called variously:
> Feileadh Mor (Big Wrap)
> belted plaid
> great kilt
> Brechan Feile (speckled or striped cloth)

This great kilt was anywhere from 15 - 24 yards long and about 54 - 56 inches wide...two lengths of cloth from the typical 28 inch wide home loom, sewn together lengthwise. To put it on for the day you would lay out your belt on the ground, putting the cloth perpendicularly over it... kilt (gather or bunch) up the cloth in the centre, leaving an unkilted (flat) part on either side... lay on your back on all this, drawing the unkilted aprons over your front... do up your belt... then stand up and tuck in the rest of the cloth in your belt, over your shoulder, or over your head depending on the weather. The cloth behind you, below your belt, was now loosely bunched or "kilted". Your entire wardrobe and bedroom was self-contained.

They also wore a knee-length shirt and sometimes a waistcoat. By now they wore hose up to the knees and thin-soled leather shoes without heels. The hose was of the same woven stuff as the Feileadh Mor. Knitted hose didn't appear until the mid-19th century. Headwear was a plain flat bonnet, like today's balmoral, typically in blue or grey.

Another style in this era was to wear the trews with a great big cross-striped blanket (called a pleade, from which comes the word plaid) wrapped around the upper body. This smaller pleade is not to be confused with the belted plaid.

And what about the ladies? In these medieval times... for it was still very much medieval, if not the Dark Ages in the Highlands (did you know that the Scottish Highlands were the last explored areas of Europe, not being mapped or having roads built until the 1700s?)...the ladies would wear a long cloak called an Arisad. It went from neck to heels, pinned at the breast with a brooch and belted at the waist. It would be pleated all around and had long sleeves. This was of coarse cloth, with striped tartan design, for the lower classes. Upper classes would have an Arisad of a fine white background, but again with tartan striping. This is the forerunner of today's long white formal dress. It is also why men should stay away from the so-called dress tartans with white backgrounds, unless they are involved in Highland or Scottish Country dancing where they are common.


In the early 1700s an English Quaker named Thomas Rawlinson was running an ironworks in Lochaber. His Highland workmen wore the great kilt. This was great for wearing on the hillside, chasing the deer... but it tended to get in the way in a factory setting. He removed the part above the waist and the kilt, almost as we know it today, was born. The only further improvement was to hand-sew the pleats and provide straps and buckles at the waist.

The tartan, plaid, kilt and trews were formally outlawed on August 1, 1747. Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his Jacobite supporters had been trounced by a combination of their bad planning and modern technology (cannon and musket) at Culloden. To eliminate the Highland Clan threat once and for all, the Government outlawed their symbolic clothing. Yet, in the late 17005 and early 1800s, interest in Highland clothing and in tartan patterns (which up to then were primarily regional designs, not specific clan patterns) began to flourish despite the ban. How could this be?

Well, there were a number of reasons. First, the London-based Government had realized that the Highlands produced some of the best fighting men in the world. They reasoned that the only soldiers who could protect the Lowlands (and England) from the wild Highlanders were other Highlanders. So, they began raising the Highland Independent Companies, circa 1725. These Highland troops insisted on wearing the kilt. The English Government insisted that it be uniform... and so invented a Government Sett tartan of basic dark blue and green. It was an easy step to call these companies of soldiers, wearing the very dark government issue tartan and keeping watch on the Highland line, the "Black Watch". It was as much these Government Highland Regiments as the soldiers from England who defeated the clans in 1746. The government troops were allowed to retain the kilt and tartan despite the 1747 ban...and when it was realized that they were the shock troops that built and protected the British Empire, culminating in Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, there was a public surge of interest in all things Scottish. It also explains why Scottish clothing for men tends to have a military influence, complete with epaulettes and dirks.

This interest was helped along by several other events. In 1822 King George IV decided to make a state visit to Edinburgh. Sir Walter Scott, whose series of popular romantic novels set in Scotland had also increased interest in the Highlands, stage-managed this event. The King decided to wear kilt and tartan, so both Scottish and English upper class in attendance at the many functions had to do likewise. There was a great flurry of tailoring to produce "authentic" Highland clothing and a great number of "historic clan tartans" were invented on the spot.

A few decades later Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, acquired an interest in Scotland. He built Balmoral Castle for his Queen. When in residence, the English royal family commonly wore kilt and tartan... as they still do today. Of course, London high society had to follow suit.

It was the woolen mill owners who reaped the benefit of all this. They realized that if a person had one kilt in their family tartan they might buy a second if a second (or third!) family tartan existed. They invented hundreds of tartans in the 19th century and promoted them fully. They are still doing this, with new tartans coming on the market almost daily. Did you know, for example, that there is a white backgrounded Dress Hunting Ross? It must be very appropriate for duck shooting in full dress white tie!

Today, Scottish formal wear is very similar to that which developed in the Victorian era. There is also a resurgence in wearing the kilt informally, as it was always meant to be, just like a favorite pair of jeans. One thing that is quite common these days is the formal tartan dinner jacket or formal tartan trousers (hopefully never worn at the same time!). These are OK for Saxons, but they have no historical connection with Scotland.

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- J. Douglas Ross (general information)

Nobody knows for certain when exactly the men of the Scottish Highlands first got together to wrestle, toss cabers, throw weights, and dance and play music.

Towns and villages all over Scotland hold Games, large and small, each summer. This has spread all over the world and now some of the biggest Games are held outside Scotland.

The aim in tossing the caber is to throw it in as straight a line as possible; it is not a question of who can throw it the furthest. A perfect throw is when the caber lands in the 12 o'clock position after being thrown in a vertical semicircle.

Throwing the hammer is a sport once practiced by the young bloods in Scotland outside the local blacksmith's smiddy just to pass the time of day.

The earliest recorded Highland Games organised on modern lines was at St. Fillans, in Perth-shire. in 1819. This gathering featured Highland Dancing as well as the usual track and field events. The "Hill Race" and "tug-of-war" were also common features of such games in Scotland.

A grand parade of pipe bands is a fairly modern innovation at highland Games. There are few sights to equal the colour and sparkle and awe-inspiring sound produced by the massed bands.
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- J. Douglas Ross (a family recipe tested by three generations)

1 cup Rice Flour
1 cup Fruit Sugar
1 lb. unsalted Butter
3 cups of general purpose Flour

Sift the Rice Flour and Fruit Sugar together. Work in the pound of butter. Then work these ingredients into the general purpose flour. Roll out into small balls and flatten into circles. Place the shortbread cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in oven for 25 minutes at 350° F.

This mixture is also well suited for fancy moulds or cookie cutters.





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