Discussions about the origins of the kilt can be tangled with discord. The earliest Irish stone carvings of men wearing knee-length robes have been a source of speculation that kilts originated in Ireland and then brought over by Scots. English folklore suggests it was Thomas Rawlinson, who owned an iron smelter in the Scottish Highlands early in the 18th century, altered the attire of his workers since their plaids with belts were too hot to be used in his plant. The rumor is that he cut the tunic-like clothing of his workers in half, and then added a belt. This was later transformed into the kilt we have it in the present. The two theories of the past have been disproved by historians. Irish carvings depict people in tunics, not in traditional kilts in two pieces. the English myth is debunked because, starting in the 1600s, literary sources suggest that wearing”belted plaid “belted plaid” was nearly the norm for the majority of Gaelic Highlanders.

Although I soon became used to seeing men wearing kilts in streets in Edinburgh but it was only when the time I got invited to the Scottish ceremony held at Blair Castle that I realised the way fashionable kilts have become. With a few instances, everyone at the wedding was dressed in an Kilt. Incredulous, I made rounds around the hall of the castle and noticed that there was no similarity between the kilts. Each featured a long, woolen knee-length garment, which was pleated at the back, and then wrapped towards the front, secured by buckles, belts, and completed with a pin on the open edge. An scoran (Gaelic pouch) hangs from a belt or chain over the front of every kilt, and long woolen socks, rolled down towards the knees, were often adorned with the sheathed knife (Sgian dhu) and belted to the calf at the point just over the ankle. Also, each kilt was finished with a clothing and jackets of the wearer’s preference.

Despite the similarities, the range of kilts offered a staggering array. Sporrans varied from basic bags of leather to huge purses decorated with sealskin or fur. Stockings were embellished with tassels, and at times they were hung with garters. Tartans varied from the popular green/red/navy pattern to combinations with orange grey, tan and maroon. I even saw a few with baby pink and blue plaids!

My new friends informed me that each clan has a distinct tartan which is passed down through generations, I realized that, due to my Scottish roots in my maternal MacDonald parentage, it is only fitting that I should wear a tartan from my clan. When I returned to Edinburgh my host family complied with my request to purchase a scarf sporting my tartan. We stopped at various shops along the route. The only problem was that we were travelling across Campbell territory. The famous feud between the MacDonalds and Campbells could be a long-standing tradition However, asking for the MacDonald tartan within Campbell country has raised more than one eyebrow. There was no way I could have found an original MacDonald tartan scarf, however I left with something more valuable thoughts of the warm, welcoming country where people wear the kilt with pride and flair.

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