Why Do Highlanders Wear Kilts?

You might know the kilts as the traditional dress of Scotland. But that’s not quite true. Back in the 18th century, highlanders usually wore a baggy long shirt and were bare-legged. Along with this, they also wore a simple piece of woolen cloth which they also used it as a blanket while sleeping. They also used animal skins to cover them. So, you might be thinking that how did kilt came into existence and started to represent Scotland?

So, the history dates back to 16th century when Henry VIIIth put a ban on wearing the baggy saffron shirt. After that, we started seeing signs of breacan feile, which is also known as belted plaid, and features of worsted wool. The length of the breacan was about 4 to 6 yards and it was 2 yard wide. Usually, the beacon is wrapped around the waist and leather belt is used to tighten it. The rest is thrown over the shoulder and is fastened. It is known as the traditional dress for a Highlander.

In the 18th century, the kilt appeared as an alternative. Most say that it was created by an Englishman. Pinkerton once said that that the kilt invention was a coincidence that happened during the era when Scotland was being occupied by the General Wade. Parkinson was an English tailor for the army. During a wild storm, Parkinson took shelter in Mr. Rawlinson’s house. He usually complained to others that Highlanders were naked working because of their bulky plaids.

Later on, the tailor designed a new dress. To encourage others to wear his creation, Rawlinson tried to put it on himself first. Soon, his workers tried it and then the English army wanted to use it as the official Highlander’s army uniform.

The soldiers didn’t like the uniform at all and they filed a complaint to the army too! By some means, this new version of breacan was started to be known as “kilt” and it didn’t belong to the Celtic language.

When the Jacobite Rebellion lost, they were prohibited for wearing the Highland clothes except the soldiers. This tragedy lasted for around 40 years but in 1782, the law was removed and people could wear there traditional dress again!