Whenever people from Scotland live in foreign countries, there is one thing that people always ask them: 'Oh, is Scotland that place where the men wear skirts?' The short answer is yes. This blog post, however, will try to explain the longer answer.
The 'skirt' that Scottish men sometimes wear is called a kilt. It is part of the traditional dress of Scotland. The kilt is clearly very famous across the world. It seems that everybody has heard of it, and that most people have seen a picture of a man wearing one.
People’s knowledge and ideas about Scotsmen wearing these funny kilts comes from films and television. Every time people from other countries ask about the kilt, they mention Mel Gibson’s film, Braveheart. In many countries, there are documentaries on television about the United Kingdom and, often more specifically, about Scotland. These programmes always include information or images of men in kilts.
Of course, in Scotland, you will often see the kilt. The reality is, though, that you will most commonly see it in tourist areas. The main streets and tourist areas of Scotland unfailingly have a Scotsman wearing a kilt (and usually playing the bagpipes) and all tourist shops in the country will sell kilts in a variety of different colours.
The reality is, though, that kilts are not something that Scottish people usually see every day. Kilts are for special occasions, such as weddings, funerals and other big and important events, such as university graduation or school proms. Scotsmen do not put on their kilt just to buy a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread at the local supermarket.
The reason for this may be that kilts are very expensive. When a man wears a kilt, he normally wears it with a special shirt, jacket, bow tie, socks and shoes. This is obviously not cheap. In fact, a quick Google search, suggests that an average kilt outfit costs around £500.
The final thing to mention about kilts is the most famous myth of all; many people around the world believe that Scotsmen do not wear underwear underneath their kilt (as was seen in Braveheart). Of course, every man is different. If you ever meet a man wearing a kilt and want to know if he is wearing underwear, there is only one way to find out; ask him.
What traditional clothes exist in your own country? Do you know of other cultures where men or women wear very traditional clothes for special occasions?