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Why do Scottish men wear skirts?
Why do Scottish men wear skirts?

The Scottish skirt is a symbol of courage, freedom, courage, severity of real highlanders. We recall the history of the kilt and understand why the men of Scotland wear it.

Scottish kilt

The kilt is made from a large piece of fabric about 12 "elles" (1356 cm), wrapped around the waist and secured with special buckles and belts. The kilt comes with a small bag for personal belongings - sporran, and the kilt itself can be “big” (Great Kilt, Breacan Feile) and “small” (Little kilt, Feileadh Beg). A large kilt can be thrown over your shoulder and sheltered in bad weather. The kilt is now about four or five yards (3657-4572 mm) long and 56-60 inches (142-151 cm) wide.

Kilt is the clothing of the Scottish Highlanders

Real highlanders, with a kilt, carry a knife behind their right stocking. If the knife is located on the outside of the golf course (in front), then this meant a declaration of war. From the very beginning of the 17th century, the Scots used the occles skin (sgian achlais) - an axillary dagger located in the left sleeve of the armpit.

Traditions of hospitality demanded that the guests had weapons in sight, and the highlander shifted the knife from a secret pocket to the garter of the right golf course. Over time, they began to constantly carry a knife, and it was called skin doo.


For the first time a description of a kilt in the highlands of Scotland is found in 1594: "Their outer clothing is a speckled robe of various colors, with many folds to the mid-calf, with a belt around the waist, pulling the clothes together."

And in the description of 1746 it is said: “These clothes are quite loose and help men who are accustomed to them to overcome difficult obstacles: to make quick transitions, to endure the harshness of the weather, to cross the rivers. The kilt is equally comfortable for living in the forest as well as in houses. In a word, it helps to cope with what ordinary clothes are not capable of”.

Residents of Scotland

The very word "Kilt" comes from the Old Norse kjilt ("folded") and the formidable Vikings with a tartan. Tartan is a woolen material with lines of various widths and colors that cross each other at specific angles. Each clan has its own slope, color and width of the tartan, which made it possible to immediately identify a stranger. By the number of tartan colors one could recognize a person's social status: one is a servant, two is a farmer, three is an officer, five is a military leader, six is ​​a poet, seven is a leader. There are now about 700 designs (sets) of tartans, although many were forgotten at the time of the ban on kilts.

The kilt skirt was not worn by all Scots, but only by the Highlanders - the Highlanders. In Scotland (Highlands), a large kilt was very handy for rainy climates and mountainous terrain. The kilt warmed well enough, provided freedom of movement, dries well, and at night it becomes a warm blanket. During the battle, when maximum freedom of movement was required, the highlanders threw off their kilts and fought in only shirts.

Clan clash

There is a legend about such a battle. In 1544, a clan battle took place between the Freisers, MacDonald's and Cameroons, it was named Blar-na-Leine, which means "Battle of the Shirts". But this is a common play on words: "Blar na Leine" comes from "Blar na Leana", which translates as "Place of a swampy meadow."

There was also a real battle without kilts. In August 1645, the Battle of Kilsith took place. The Marquis of Montrose with three thousand Scots and Irish met in battle against the seven thousandth army of William Baillie. The Scottish Highlanders, who struck the center of the enemy's positions, during the battle threw off their kilts and defeated the superior forces in only shirts.


In the XVIII century. the British authorities tried to ban the wearing of a kilt to the Scots, which they saw as the waywardness of the highlanders, and to force them to wear trousers. But the proud and stubborn Highlanders bypassed the law and wore a kilt and wore trousers on a stick.

The small kilt was presumably created in 1725 by the Englishman Rollinson.The steel mill manager suggested leaving only the lower part of the kilt for convenience, and trimming the rest. The length of the kilt was determined as follows: the owner squatted down and the edge of the material that touched the floor was cut off.

Now the kilt is popular not only among the militant Scots, but also the decorous British.

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