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The Scottish Kilt: A Brief History

For anyone of Scottish ancestry, the kilt is a symbol of honor for the clan which they belong. First worn by those who lived in the Scottish Highlands, the kilt was a manner of dress that afforded the fighting army with possibly its most useful tool. Prior to 1792 those who wanted to wear the kilt in the Lowlands or Britain, had to join the British army. The reason being that because of the swift and competent movements of the Highland armies, the English were afraid that if they let anyone wear the kilt it would spark the idea of revolution.

The kilt is more than just a covering. It allowed those who wore it to move much more freely, especially in the Highlands of Scotland where the weather can become very damp. With its tight weave of strong wool, it created a barrier between the rain and skin. When the armies of the past were fighting in Scotland, the kilt with its pleat helped protect the soldier much like armor would. When the nights became cold, this garment was easily removed and spread out to create a blanket to keep the person who owned it warm. Lastly, if the army needed to move with a much quicker force, the garment could be easily removed, thus allowing the soldier more freedom of movement.

Today the kilt is the national dress of Scotland and worn by many. The various plaids that one can see from time to time are the colors of the particular clan that the wearer belongs to. It is much shorter than the ones worn by the Highland armies of yore, but still evokes the pride that was carried by those who lived above the land of Scotland.


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