Traditions and customs in Scotland

Разделы: История и обществознание, Иностранные языки, Музыка, Классное руководство

Классы: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

In life and the culture of any nation and country there are many phenomena complicated according their historical origin. One of the brightest and indicative phenomena are national customs and traditions. They are considered the most important as they were collected throughout centuries as the result of practical and spiritual comprehension of reality. To understand their sources, first of all,  it is necessary, to study the history of people, their culture, to adjoin to their life, to try to understand their soul and character.

In this article I would like to speak about Scotland, their traditions and customs. To begin with, the topic of customs and traditions in Scotland is many - sided and broad. In this regard I decided to display the main customs and traditions in Scotland: music, dancing, national suit.

The relevance of the article is connected with the fact that despite the topic is studied in sufficient amount, not many people, especially students know traditions and customs of Scots. In this regard there is a misunderstanding in sense of customs and traditions of Scots at their studying at English lessons. Researching this topic, we can fairly claim that Scotland is the country which has attracted attention with the mystery and mysteriousness.

From my point of view, the importance of this article consists in identification of uniqueness of traditions and customs in Scotland, the entity of Scots. The results of the work can be recommended for using in studying both students, and teachers for the purpose of the general development, studying of Scotland as the part of Great Britain, the manifestation of tolerance to the Scots people, respect of their traditions and customs.

Studying music traditions in Scotland, I realized that according some scientific facts traditional Scottish music remains the same bright in the 21st century. Comparing with the other countries I found out that in many other states traditional music lost popularity. It means that Scottish people respect their traditions in music even in the contemporary world.

Music took the important place in life of the ancient tribes inhabiting Scotland - Picts and Gels, Scandinavians. They traveled around the country and  the world, gave and kept the original epos. The development of the Scottish folk music can be geographically divided on Highland where the English influence was insignificant, and Lowland where it was more obvious.

From antiquity among fishermen, shepherds, suknoval there were songs accompanying different types of works and bofi-ballads (the song by farmers). Workers also played instrumental music. In bofi-groups played violins, harmonicas. The rhythm was beated off with heels on a box in which oats were stored.

Scotland is the country of national musical traditions, with the surprising number of the singers, composers and musicians acting in many musical styles.

The native peoples of the north and west of Scotland have always placed a strong emphasis on oral transmission of their music, partly because, centuries ago, there was no tradition of literacy. It is important to mention that most of the music and songs in Scotland are dedicated to the wars against the Roman Empire and England and to the nature, homeland. The illustrative example of this music and songs are so-called «The Border Ballads», dedicated to the centuries of feuding along the border with England which played an important role in a body of song and important aspect of Scottish music.

Speaking about music and songs it is worth to mention about musical instruments which influenced on Scottish traditions. One of the most famous and important instrument is considered to be bagpipes. No doubts that bagpipes are closely associated only with Scotland by many scientists, music fans, historians, although it was found firstly in Europe, North Africa and South Asia. Despite the variety of Scottish bagpipes, nowadays the most popular and common is the Highlands variety. It is called  pibroch which consists of a theme (urlar) which is repeated, growing increasingly complex each time. The last, and most complex variation (cruunluath), gives way to a sudden and unadorned rendition of the theme. When the holidays are held, bagpipe is an integral part of any Scottish holiday, even family. Nowadays even exist competitions in playing bagpipes with popular bands including colonial groups from Australia, Canada.

Another popular instrument was a harp which rivals with bagpipe. It dates back to the 10th century when the harp appear on Pictish carvings. Nowadays scientists suggest that harp compositions may formed the basis for the folk bagpipe tradition. It is considered that by the 18th century the harp was no longer popular, and it was not revived until the 1890s.

During the research we found out that fiddle played an important role in Scottish music. It can be classified into regional styles such as: west Highlands, the bombastic style and the strathspeys of the North-East. The fiddle appeared in Scotland late in the 17th century, but is first mentioned in 1680 in a document from Newbattle Abbey in Midlothian.

It is believed that nothing captures the spirit of Scottish culture better than the sight of Highland dancing being performed at some Highland gathering in some far flung corner of the world. This sophisticated form of national dancing has been spread by Scottish migrants across the world and competitions are now regularly organized in Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the United States.

Researching dancing traditions it is said that the Scots keep them very carefully. They did not become so popular like Irish, but they are interesting, lovely and original. The main direction of dancing culture of Scotland are ballroom dances which are performed in three or four couples called "sets". The main attention is paid to the movements of legs and movement of couples towards to each other. It is considered that Scottish dances are simple technically.

Dancing has always played an important role in any nationality as it represents  the essence of peoples, expressing feelings and emotions.  Investigating dancing traditions in Scotland it was found out that they are divided into several types, intending to different cases. Among them are marked out ball, solo (men's – "highland" and women's – "ladies a step") and demotic ("keyl" and "a country dancing"). Most representatively are performed the men's solo dances in full traditional vestments of the mountaineer. Kailey's dances are the most available to the majority (from. шотл. ceilidh - "holiday").

Scottish country dancing were finally developed at the end of XIX – the beginning of the 20th century, but have also more ancient history. They date back to a much earlier period. Historians consider that the first documented evidence of dances being performed to “the wailing music of bagpipes” was at the second marriage of Alexander III to his French bride Yolande de Dreux at Jedburgh in 1285. The main tempos of music are: rit, the Irish jig and straspy. In the 18th and 19th centuries, traditional Scottish highland dance was modified by applying principles of ballet. The five main positions of highland dance are similar to those in ballet.

According the Scottish history there is another kind of dance such as "Keith-Breton the step", which is danced by men and women during the various holidays and parties. Historically, Keith-Breton the step has a direct relation to Cape Breton island in the gulf of St Lawrence which is a part of the province of Canada (Nova Scotia). The thing is that in Scotland where traditions of the population of the hilly terrain were suppressed successfully by the English authorities, this dance was almost lost. And only in the 20-21st centuries the Scottish step began to return to Scotland. Dance of Scots projects exactly their character.

Nowadays Scottish highland dance is evolved into 16 dances which are partly performed at highland games competitions. Moreover, many contemporary Scottish dances require different levels of ability and appeal to different sections of the population. Some of them have been spread all around the world, some are considered to be social, some are competitive.

Analyzing traditions and customs in Scotland it is important to tell about traditional suits. To begin with, the Scottish suit is very unusual and is not similar to the other national suits. It is individual. It has always been a symbol of this country, related to ancient hilly clans. It was firstly mentioned in documents in the XVI century. Traditionally the main distinctive feature of the Scottish suit is the small kilt — men's with large folds behind the skirt to knees sewed from woolen checkered fabric — tartan. Tartans differ in the special drawing and a combination of flowers from which it is possible to identify the representative of a certain clan, the social status, military unit or the area. As we see Scottish kilts have cultural and historical roots and are symbolized patriotism and honour for any Scotsman. Kilts are worn around the waist. Also they are accompanied by a sporran, a small bag worn over the kilt. Kilts for men are heavy and symbolize the strength of any Scottish man.

Another interesting fact is that women also wear kilts. Comparing both suits, we realized that the Scottish women's national suit ideally supplements the creative style of a men's suit. It is made in the same tones with application of a stripe and cage. The essential difference is a softness, femininity and cosiness of style.

In the XII- XVth centuries the usual dress of the woman who could be referred to the Scottish nobility consisted of several elements: lower dress, overcoat, apron, belt, cape, hats, sash. The main attention is paid to hats and sash. According the traditions, in Scotland hats were worn only by married ladies. It was forbidden to wear by unmarried. They could walk bare- headed.

As about sash, it is a special for women, which is not worn by all ladies, Traditions and customs put some conditions. In this case sash is worn in the following  styles. In the first style sash is worn by wives of leaders of clans. Sash is put on the left shoulder and is attached with a brooch on the left shoulder. In the second style it is worn by ordinary women – members of the clan. Sash is put on the right shoulder across a breast and is attached by a pin or a small brooch on the right shoulder. In the third style sash is worn by the dancers presenting Scottish Country Dances. Sash is put on a dress on a waist (or ties with a small belt) and is fixed by a pin or a brooch on the right shoulder. The ends of  sash are fallen down from the right shoulder and flutter behind the right hand.

Over the last fifty years, tartan has developed into a multi-million pound industry dominated by a few large mills. Today, tartan holds a unique place in the annals of textile history and has come to symbolize, along with the kilt and bagpipes, the cultural identity of the whole Scottish nation. Nowadays kilts and tartans are worn at weddings, at Highland games, by athletes and spectators, at ceilidhs, by dancers and the band.

To conclude, we can say that each part in Scotland is connected with some historical or cultural events. Scotland is the country with rough and rich history which is connected with local tribes, the Roman Empire, powerful kings and queens, battles against England, powerful clans in Scotland, famous artistic people such as writers, composers, musicians. All the people and events created the history and the culture of Scotland. Nowadays we can see the ancient monuments, locks, castles and the museums located in all Scotland, which are an integral part of modern Scotland.

Moreover, as well as the history, cultural heritage contains thousands of years. But traditions in Scotland do not become dusty behind glasses in the cold museums, they live, constantly develop and evolve, and each new generation adds to them something special, individual. Analyzing the traditions and customs in Scotland people can confidently say that  the history and culture are alive even today, it is the proud of the Scots.