Scotland’s Diverse Culture

St Giles- By: Tiara Terry

Out of all of the places we have visited thus far, Scotland has culturally been the most different than the US. Scotland’s architect, clothing and street talent and inventions has been like no other.

The first thing that appealed to my eye when we arrived in Scotland was the architect. It’s very old and classic. You kind of feel like you are in another time period, it was really cool and refreshing to see something different than London and Dublin. I really like that they kept the architect up to date, it is very unique and like no other place I have ever been. One of my favorite buildings was the St Giles’ Cathedral. America is so different because everything is so modern now. Our buildings are made of brick. Besides our landmarks, we don’t have many historical things left in America. But I do love the simplicity of brick buildings and modern architect. I could not live in Scotland, but it was very beautiful to see and experience.

When you think of Scotland, the average cliches come to mind such as the wearing of kilts and the bag pipes, never did I think that I would see both while being there. I never knew much about Scotland, so I thought kilts and the bag pipes were old traditions that were no longer around; I was completely wrong! We had the opportunity to visit Kinloch Anderson, the place where real kilts are made. I learned that kilts are made of tarten, which is the plaid-like material that they are made of. I learned that this is Scotland’s traditional fashion, therefore, you can wear it to upscale events such as weddings, or you can wear it as a regular outfit. Tarten is so important to the culture that, Kinloch Anderson makes a specific pattern that only the royal family wears. Scottish people love to wear their tarten with pride! On the streets, people were making a living off of playing the bag pipes while dressed in their tarten. The bag pipes are very loud and produce a harmonic stream of notes. As for the US, the main instruments that we use are the guitar, drums and the piano. These instruments are loud as well, and a bit more up-beat. In the US, people don’t really play music on the streets. I have seen a few performers in Detroit, but not as often, and I must say, they are not as talented as the artists I have seen over here in the UK. As for clothing, the US does not have a national fashion. We tend to like name brands and to stand out from others around us. Our president also does not have a specific dress code. Our style is also a lot more diverse because we experience all four seasons.

While being abroad, we have seen a lot of amazing street performers, but Scotland has had the best talent by far. There’s people playing instruments, caricature drawers, talent performers, people performing tricks and even a guinness world record women out, entertaining the public! I really enjoyed the street talent. It was my first time seeing someone play the bag pipes and the accordion in person. It was also my first time getting a caricature drawn of myself. That experience was funny and a lot of fun! Though I must say, the drawing looked nothing like me, it was still a cool experience. The woman who holds the world record for the most piercings was also out on the street doing fortune telling and palm readings. I don’t believe in those things, but I definitely took the opportunity to take a picture with her. In the US, palm readers, talent performers and caricature drawings are usually only done at big events, not usually on the streets. You may see a musician on the streets or maybe even a drawer, but that about as far as it goes for street talent.

I am not a big fan of museums but one of my favorite has been the National Museum of Scotland. So many inventions that I use till this day came from Scotland and I never even knew! Some of these inventions include the pedal bicycle, the phone, the passenger steamboat, the postage stamp, peter pan, economics, golf, TV, refrigerator, toilet and Grand Theft Auto. It all makes sense because in Scotland, and the entire UK, biking is one of their modes of transportation. I’ve realized that their fridges and TVs are a lot smaller, some places still have house phones and their toilets have buttons to push to flush. In the US, bicycles are more so used for recreational purposes. The phones have evolved to touch screens and house phones are almost non-existent. Americans love to have large TVs and large fridges as well to accommodate large families. Our toilets are a bit bigger and has a handle to flush. I was surprised to find out that Grand Theft Auto was created in Scotland, I love that video game, and in America, it is one of the most famous games. I was also shocked to learn that golf originated from Scotland because I currently work at a golf course. I am not good at regular golf, but I love to play mini-golf. The passenger steamboat in America has really became popular because of the option to go on a cruise. I am actually excited to be going on a cruise next summer for my graduation trip. It was also cool to know that Peter Pan was created in Scotland as well. Our tour guide was able to tell us the real story behind Peter Pan and it is actually a really sad story. I never knew that it was based off of a real story. In the US, Peter Pan was a childhood classic. As a kid, I was a huge fan of Tinker Bell. It just amazes me that two franchises, Harry Potter and Tinker Bell, both originated from Scotland. I am interested to know what other huge films originated from there as well.


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