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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Addressing the haggis during Burns supper :
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

The culture of Scotland refers to the patterns of human activity and symbolism associated with Scotland and the Scottish people. Some elements of Scottish culture, such as its separate national church, are protected in law as agreed in the Treaty of Union, and other instruments.


Scots law

Scotland retains Scots Law, its own unique legal system, based on Roman law, which combines features of both civil law and common law. The terms of union with England specified the retention of separate systems. The barristers called advocates, and the judges of the high court for civil cases are also the judges for the high court for criminal cases. Scots Law differs from England's common law system. Formerly, there were several regional law systems in Scotland, one of which was Udal Law (also called allodail or odal law) in Shetland and Orkney. This was a direct descendant of Old Norse Law, but was abolished in 1611 . Despite this, Scottish courts have acknowledged the supremacy of udal law in some property cases as recently as the 1990s. There is a movement to restore udal law[1] to the islands as part of a devolution of power from Edinburgh to Shetland and Orkney. Various systems based on common Celtic Law also survived in the Highlands until the 1800s.

Banking and currency

Banking in Scotland also features unique characteristics. Although the Bank of England remains the central bank for the UK Government, three Scottish corporate banks still issue their own banknotes: the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank. These notes have no status as legal tender, (although no banknotes are Legal tender in Scotland.)


Sporting events such as the football World Cup. Scotland cannot compete in the Olympic Games independently however, and In athletics, Scotland has competed for the Celtic Cup, against teams from Wales and Ireland, since the inaugural event in 2006.[1] Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, first proposed by Lawrie Sanchez (the then Northern Ireland coach) in 2006, is to begin in 2011.[2]

Scotland is considered the "Home of Golf", and is well known for its courses. As well as its world famous Highland Games (athletic competitions), it is also the home of curling, and shinty, a stick game similar to Ireland's hurling. Scottish cricket is a minority game.


Scotland has distinct media from the rest of the UK. For example, it produces many national newspapers such as the Daily Record (Scotland's leading tabloid), the broadsheet The Herald, based in Glasgow, and The Scotsman in Edinburgh Sunday newspapers include the tabloid Sunday Mail (published by Daily Record parent company Trinity Mirror and the Sunday Post, while the Sunday Herald and Scotland on Sunday have associations with The Herald and The Scotsman respectively.)

Regional dailies include The Courier and Advertiser in Dundee and the east, and The Press and Journal serving Aberdeen and the north.

Scotland has its own BBC services which include the national radio stations, BBC Radio Scotland and Scottish Gaelic language service, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal. There are also a number of BBC and independent local radio stations throughout the country. In addition to radio, BBC Scotland also runs two national television stations. Much of the output of BBC Scotland Television, such as news and current affairs programmes, and the Glasgow-based soap opera, River City, are intended for broadcast within Scotland, while others, such as drama and comedy programmes, aim at audiences throughout the UK and further afield.

Two Independent Television stations, STV and ITV1, also broadcast in Scotland. Most of the independent television output equates to that transmitted in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the exception of news and current affairs, sport, comedy, cultural and Scottish Gaelic language programming.

There are also two Gaelic language channels,Tele-G and BBC Alba which broadcast across the UK at certain times of the day.

As one of the Celtic nations, Scotland is represented at the Celtic Media Festival (formerly known as the Celtic International Film Festival). Scottish entrants have won many awards since the festival began in 1980. Scottish sponsors and partners of the event include Highlands and Islands Enterprise, BBC Scotland, MG Alba, Scottish Screen, STV and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.[3][4]

Food and drink

Although the Deep fried Mars bar is jokingly said to exemplify the modern Scottish diet, Scottish cuisine offers such traditional dishes as haggis, the Arbroath Smokie, salmon, venison, cranachan, bannock, Scotch Broth and shortbread.

Scotland is also known for its Scotch whisky and its distilleries, as well as for Scottish beer.

The soft drink Irn-Bru is cited by its manufacturer A.G. Barr as Scotland's 'other' national drink owing to its large market share in Scotland.


Scotland has an extremely strong tradition in philosophy (especially for such a small country). Duns Scotus was one of the premier Medieval scholastics. In the Scottish Enlightenment Edinburgh became the home for an astonishing amount of intellectual talent, including Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith. However other cities also produced major thinkers at this time: Aberdeen for example, produced Thomas Reid. While the Scottish contribution in the 19th and 20th centuries has not been quite so impressive, there has been a steady stream of major philosophers.

Facts of Scottish culture

Scotland also has its own unique family of languages and dialects, helping to foster a strong sense of "Scottish-ness". See Scots language and Scottish Gaelic language. An organisation called Iomairt Cholm Cille has been set up to support Gaelic-speaking communities in both Scotland and Ireland and to promote links between them. [5]

Scotland retains its own national church, separate from that of England. See Church of Scotland and Religion in the United Kingdom.

The patron saints of Scotland is Saint Andrew, and Saint Andrew's Day is celebrated in Scotland on 30 November. Saint (Queen) Margaret, Saint Columba and Saint Ninian have also historically enjoyed great popularity.

Interceltic festivals

As one of the Celtic nations, Scotland is represented at interceltic events at home and over the word. Scotland is host to two interceltic music festivals – the Scottish Arts Council funded Celtic Connections, Glasgow, and the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Stornoway – that were founded in the mid 1990s.[6][7][8][9]

Scottish culture is also represented at interceltic festivals of music and culture worldwide. Among the most well known are Festival Interceltique de Lorient – held annually in Brittany since 1971 – the Pan Celtic Festival, Ireland, and the National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, Australia.[10][11][12]


  1. ^ {{cite web|title=scottishathletics-and Wales competing in two leagues, the top four teams from each league qualifying for a final knockout cup competition.
  2. ^ "BBC 25". Football Association of Wales website. 
  3. ^ "About Us::Celtic Media Festival". Celtic Media Festival website. Celtic Media Festival. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  4. ^ "Sponsors & Partners::Celtic Media Festival". Celtic Media Festival website. Celtic Media Festival. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  5. ^ "Iomairt Cholm Cille". Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  6. ^ Celtic geographies: old culture, new times. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Routledge. 2002. p. 142. ISBN 0 4152 2396 2. 
  7. ^ Celtic identity and the British image. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 1999. p. 1–5. ISBN 0 7190 5826 0. 
  8. ^ "Celtic connections:Scotland's premier winter music festival". Celtic connections website. Celtic Connections. 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  9. ^ "'Hebridean Celtic Festival 2010 - the biggest homecoming party of the year". Hebridean Celtic Festival website. Hebridean Celtic Festival. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  10. ^ "Site Officiel du Festival Interceltique de Lorient". Festival Interceltique de Lorient website. Festival Interceltique de Lorient. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  11. ^ "Welcome to the Pan Celtic 2010 Home Page". Pan Celtic Festival 2010 website. Fáilte Ireland. 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  12. ^ "About the Festival". National Celtic Festival website. National Celtic Festival. 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 

See also

External links



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