Every time we hear the word “tartan”, Scotland is the first thought that comes into our minds. But, what is a tartan? We are talking about a piece of multiple-colored patterned cloth made of wool. However, although the tartan is straightforwardly related to Scotland, the origin of the word comes from the Old French “tertaine”.
The use of tartans dates back from the XIIIth century, when the system of clans from the Highlands lived under the power of an autocratic leader who used them. For a while, tartans were forbidden by the British Crown until King George IV visited Scotland wearing a tartan in 1822, year in which they came into use again. Another monarch who encouraged the use of tartans was Queen Victoria, who due to her love towards Scotland, designed her own tartan (Victoria tartan). Similarly, her husband Prince Albert created his (the Balmoral tartan).
There is a distinction between the types of tartans:
1. district tartans which are worn by people from the same region in Scotland and
2. clan tartans worn by the members of the same family, although originally clan tartans could be worn by people who did not have family ties.
The color and pattern of tartans vary across district or clan tartans. Apart from tartans, what other attire did Scotsmen wear?
*Sporran: escarcela (bolsa hecha de piel de tejón)
*Feileadhmor: tela a cuadros que se lleva en bandolera sobre el hombro y cintura. (PAST)
Moreover, today the use of tartans is spread over the world and we can find it printed on every piece of clothes until such an extent that it has come to be related with the punk culture.
Now then, I ponder the same question everyone asks about the mystery surrounding the underwear of XIIIth-century Scotsmen ´s skirts… It’s as enigmatic as where Nessie spends his sweetest hours under the dark and deep waters of Loch Ness…