Scottish People and Their Culture

The Scottish People

At the heart of Scottish culture is its' people, and you might find them to be as surprising as Scotlands' geography and landscape.
At first impression (especially to non-Europeans), the Scottish people may seem a bit 'reserved', but they're actually very warm-hearted, gregarious and friendly - with a very sharp, if dry, sense of humor.
The Scottish 'psyche' and attitudes has a lot of its' roots in an ancient, rich and varied history.
You'll find that the Scots are independent, practical, feisty, tough and proud... but they're also sentimental, superstitious, spiritual, generous, friendly and gregarious.
Want to know what Scottish people look like (hint: we don't all have red hair)? Where our ancestors came from? Or how much we're NOT like the stereotypes?
Check out our All About Scottish People page to get all the insider info.

The Scottish Language

What language to Scots speak? Well, that depends on exactly where they live, and what their ancestry is.
Scotland has it's own Gaelic language, but it's not widely spoken.
Movement is being made towards being a dual-language country (Gaelic & English) but not everyone is in favor of this idea.
On the Sheltand and Orkney Isles in the far north, the locals speech is sprinkled with odd words which are remnants of an ancient Norse language called 'Norn'
'Scottish English', on the other hand, is spoken all over Scotland and there are a whole host of regional dialects and variations.
Now, although this is technically English, the strong Scottish accents, and the number of different dialects spoken, can make it very difficult for non-locals to understand what's being said!
You can check out our Scottish Sayings, Phrases & Words page to get a taste of Scottish-English at it's best and try out the phrases and words I grew up with.

The Scottish Clan System

Clans are a huge part of Scotland's culture, and played a vital role the country's history.
Scottish clans originated in the Highlands and are a sort of 'extended family' group (taken to the extreme in terms of size and relationship).
Each one originally identifies with a specific area of Scotland and an individual 'Clan Chief', and are said to be descended from one ancestor.
Each clan has their own tartan which is showcased on your kilt and other clothing.
Knowing which clan you belong to is important to most Scottish people and is a source of pride.

Kilts & Tartan

The piece of clothing that we recognize as a 'kilt' most likely has it's origins way back in the 9th century, while tartan fabric wasn't associated with clans until the 18th century.
But together they're an awesome combination!
The kilt was originally a multi-purpose piece of clothing, worn on a daily basis by Highlanders. Today it's come a long way from those humble beginnings and is worn proudly on ceremonial occasions and 'big' days.
Learn more about it's history, and the importance of clan tartans on our Scottish Kilts page.

Myths & Legends Of Scotland

Like all ancient cultures, Scotland has a LOT of myths and legends.... in fact, I'd say it has more than its fair share!
For such a practical people, the Scottish have a strong sense of superstition and a respect for what could be called the 'supernatural'.
Many Scottish myths and legends date back to Celtic mythology and folklore, and to the ancient Pictish culture.
Spirits, Goblins, Elves, Fairies (aka Faeries), ghosts, monsters and mythical beasts are also a big part of Scotlands' mythical realm.
Even today, many Scots people believe in something called the 'Second Sight', which is the ability to see into the future (and therefore predict future events).
Probably the best known Scottish legend is that of 'Nessie', the Loch Ness Monster. She's believed to live in the deep, cold water of Loch Ness ('loch' is the scottish word for 'lake'), which is the biggest and deepest loch in Scotland.