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Things Scottish at Renaissance Faire

A Random Section of Information and Rants

Regarding Kilts:

Above the knee, you're a boy...

At the knee, you're a man...

Below the knee, you're a f**kin' liar...

Rants Over That Non-Period Stuff

BEWARE!! This is that section where I go into being a costume nazi and rant about what really bugs me at faire
when it comes to playing a Scot.

1. Clan Tartans - It doesn't matter!!!! Clan tartans weren't really cataloged until the 18th century. So, at faire DON'T say that you're wearing your clan tartan because it's not period!! Now I can't stress this enough... It bugs me so much when I go to faire to have people ask me what clan my tartan is from... And don't give me this b.s. that in even earlier times people wore clan tartans (I'm thinking of the movie Braveheart, although I'll address that in a paragraph or so..)

2. Shield Maidens - Women don't, didn't, and probably shouldn't ever wear kilts!!! If you're a woman playing a man it's a different story.. Enough said..

3. The blue-war-painted freaks at ren faire and other Braveheart Crap - If there is anything that bugs me more than clan tartans it would have to be this and all this Braveheart stuff... The war-paint stuff is a bunch of silly junk, don't do it, PLEASE!!! About kilts and William Wallace: Let me make a few points here:
  • William Wallace is a Lowlander.
  • Lowlanders don't wear kilts, they dress like the English
  • Hence, playing a lowlander (i.e. a Wallace)=NO KILT!!!

4. Scots men walking around without their shirts on - Granted, I too find this attractive with some men, but a lot of the time it's just plain UGLY, besides that, any self-respecting Scot in Elizabethan times wouldn't be caught dead running around without his shirt.

5. Trying to pass off English Costumes as Scots - Those people that wear obviously English costumes with an arisaid over it to say it's Scots, but the don't wear a leine, kertch, or overdress.* Okay, so I still make the exception for the newbie who wants to play Scots, but the garb they own is English, I have nothing against them if they are open to learning becoming more historically accurate.. You know, we were all there once. But those that couldn't give a damn about it, I quote my friend Vicki: Sasannachs that wish they were more civilized!!

*Scots dress will be addressed further down on this page.

Scots Dress for Highlanders

Some links:

Scottish Men's Dress | Scottish Women's Dress

The Terms:

  • Kilt - if I have to describe this to you, you shouldn't be playing a scot.
  • Line (pronounced laynya, not lin or lonya) - A shirt with bag sleeves that can carry incredible amounts of stuff. The sleeves are kind of like really big pockets.
  • Cta or Ionar - literally, coat. A form of doublet, although higher waisted w/ box pleats, worn by men.
  • Bonaid - Everyone mistakenly calls this the tam, but it's not! This is a knitted or crotched wool beret style hat.
  • Sporran - The pouch, purse that men wear over the kilt to keep the front frow flying up.
  • Kertch - the kertch is a triangular cloth, usually white, tied around the head to cover the hair. The kertch originated from religion. The Catholics, which you generally play if you're playing a highlander, believed that once a woman married she had to cover her hair because she was no longer "pure", hence the kertch. The reason for the kertch being a triangle has it's religious orientation also: the three points of the triangle represent the Holy Trinity: The Father, the Son, and The Holy Ghost.
    The Kertch - a further discussion about the wearing of the kertch including why and how it was worn.
  • Arisaid - a tartan shawl which women wear belted and either on their shoulder or in a bussel.

Women & Men's Dress

  • Women - The typical Scot's woman would dress in a leine, skirts, overdress, kertch, and arisaid.
  • Men - The typical Scot's man would wear a leine, kilt, sporan, Cota, and Bonaid.
  • Nobility - Typically would dress as English Nobles. Although Highland nobility might differ in these aspects:
    • Men might wear kilts. The kilt would probably be of better quality and have more colors in it's pattern.
    • Women might wear an arisaid. The arisaid would probably be of a better quality and have more colors in it's pattern.

Gaelic For Dummies - Some terms that anyone playing Scots should know.
Catholic For Dummies v 1.0 - for any playing a Catholic Highland Scot this is a must. It doesn't matter if, in real life, you're pagan, atheist, agnostic - this was your life, you knew these things. Don't go off saying that *you* don't have to (no, you're not better than the rest of us) because the truth is that it was a part of your everyday life, probably as natural to you as eating..