At the same time Scotland was fighting for her independence, she was building and consolidating her unique folk culture. In order to establish theirnational identity, the Scotsmen followed three steps: the first task was to differientiate themselves from Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. But for that to be possible, they had to inventtraditions that would characterize them in particular and, eventually, adapt them so that everybody could distinguish them.
Admittedly, the original settlers of Scotland were immigrants fromIreland who arrived during the fifth century. In spite of the Gaelic language and the plaid dress that united them ethnically, the Scottish people felt the urge to separate from the Catholic Irish, to facethe Protestant English of Great Britain. In the movie BraveHeart (1995) it is well portrayed that Ireland and Scotland are known to be “natural enemies” when, in fact, they are the same people: themoment they are faced against each other by orders of the English King, they refuse to fight.
Conversely, Scotland insisted on a separate identity. With the help of well-known bards such as SirWalter Scott, literature became great leverage embraced by the Highland Society. The History of the Scots was literally invented and Ossian´s myth soon established the antiquity and culturalsuperioriry of the Scotsmen. Regardless of the fact that whatever real history was stolen from Irish traditions (storytelling and even folk music), the new nation claimed to be the Motherland.
Last butnot least, the Scottish tartan kilt: a cheap yet practical “barbarian” dress which became a national symbol worn by the Upper Lowland Scots. It was the British Empire who preserved the original outfitand the different tartans (to distinguish regiments, not clans) and it was Englishman Thomas Rawlingson who designed the kilt as two separate garments, which was more suitable for men working in a...