This original “Jack-o-lantern” made from a turnip in the early 19th century is on exhibit at the Museum of Country Life in Ireland. 
The making of jack-o’-lanterns, some sources maintain, springs theoretically from the custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The practice is said to have originated from an Irish tale about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack” who had dealings with the “devil”. As the story went, when he died, he wasn’t good enough for heaven and the devil wouldn’t let him into hell. The devil sent Jack away with coals which he put into a turnip to light his way in the dark.
While turnips and even potatoes had been used in Ireland, lanterns in Scotland were originally fashioned from the thick stem of the cabbage plant and were called “kail-runt torches”. It was not until 1837 that “jack-o’-lantern” appeared as a term for a carved vegetable lit from within.
Eventually pumpkins were chosen by Irish immigrants who brought the tradition with them to the home of the pumpkin - North America - where it became an integral part of Halloween festivities there. The term “jack-o’-lantern” originally meant a ‘night watchman’ or ‘man with a lantern’ with the earliest known use in the 1660’s in East Anglia…

This original “Jack-o-lantern” made from a turnip in the early 19th century is on exhibit at the Museum of Country Life in Ireland.

The making of jack-o’-lanterns, some sources maintain, springs theoretically from the custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The practice is said to have originated from an Irish tale about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack” who had dealings with the “devil”. As the story went, when he died, he wasn’t good enough for heaven and the devil wouldn’t let him into hell. The devil sent Jack away with coals which he put into a turnip to light his way in the dark.

While turnips and even potatoes had been used in Ireland, lanterns in Scotland were originally fashioned from the thick stem of the cabbage plant and were called “kail-runt torches”. It was not until 1837 that “jack-o’-lantern” appeared as a term for a carved vegetable lit from within.

Eventually pumpkins were chosen by Irish immigrants who brought the tradition with them to the home of the pumpkin - North America - where it became an integral part of Halloween festivities there. The term “jack-o’-lantern” originally meant a ‘night watchman’ or ‘man with a lantern’ with the earliest known use in the 1660’s in East Anglia…

World Peace Tartan ~
Tartan is one of the most recognisable cultural icons anywhere in the world. It is also a metaphor for interconnectedness, interdependence, equality and diversity.

The World Peace Tartan was created to convey a message of peace while also through the licensing of the brand, design or products will generate revenues to fund the activities of a charitable foundation. The World Peace Tartan Foundation will invest in education initiatives that build a culture of peace and nonviolence and address child poverty. The tartan can be used to illustrate humanity’s desire for a harmonious and sustainable future.

The striking light blue in the design is representative of the presence, hope and potential of the United Nations. Scotland is represented at the heart of this enterprise through the purple and green of the Scottish thistle. The red and black in the design represent and remind us of the realities of war and violence and the great need for a new living culture of nonviolence with the white running through the pattern as a counterbalance symbolic of peace and light.
It was listed with the Register of Tartans authority in 2011 for permanent historical preservation in the national record…
The “Brave” Tartan ~
The DunBroch Tartan was designed for the just released film “Brave” with subdued, rich colours to reflect the rugged, natural setting of Scotland. Representative of the tartan worn by the fictional Royal Family in the animated tale, the pattern is organically refined in its colour sense. There was a concerted effort to use hues that were indicative of the less saturated dyeing techniques during the olden period in which the fantasy film is set.
The DunBroch Tartan is the original work of Pixar Animation Studios and is protected by applicable copyright and trademark laws. Only to be woven with the written consent of Disney/Pixar.
Much like Scotland itself, the DunBroch Tartan is set against the ocean blue of the North Sea. The deep scarlet represents the family’s reverence for its own history, and the blood shed during battles between the clans. Deep green shows a love for Scotland’s majestic highlands, where the story of “Brave” unfolds. Navy blue, and its clear central intersections, represents the forging of the clans within the mythical DunBroch kingdom. And finally, the subtle grey imbues a sense of respect for the inner soul of the strong Scottish people…

The “Brave” Tartan ~

The DunBroch Tartan was designed for the just released film “Brave” with subdued, rich colours to reflect the rugged, natural setting of Scotland. Representative of the tartan worn by the fictional Royal Family in the animated tale, the pattern is organically refined in its colour sense. There was a concerted effort to use hues that were indicative of the less saturated dyeing techniques during the olden period in which the fantasy film is set.

The DunBroch Tartan is the original work of Pixar Animation Studios and is protected by applicable copyright and trademark laws. Only to be woven with the written consent of Disney/Pixar.

Much like Scotland itself, the DunBroch Tartan is set against the ocean blue of the North Sea. The deep scarlet represents the family’s reverence for its own history, and the blood shed during battles between the clans. Deep green shows a love for Scotland’s majestic highlands, where the story of “Brave” unfolds. Navy blue, and its clear central intersections, represents the forging of the clans within the mythical DunBroch kingdom. And finally, the subtle grey imbues a sense of respect for the inner soul of the strong Scottish people…

Solstice Kilter

Solstice Kilter

The Wellington Boot ~
Also known as rubber-boots, wellies, wellingtons, topboots, billy-boots, gumboots, gumbies, gummies, barnboots, wellieboots, muckboots, sheepboots, poopkickers, or rainboots are a type of  footwear based upon a leather Hessian boot model.
They were worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The novel “Wellington” boot became a staple of hunting and outdoor wear for the upper classes in the early 19th century.
In some parts of Ireland or Scotland, older people may refer to Wellingtons as “topboots”, usually black in colour, as this was a popular name for the boot in the 1960s. In general, Irish and UK people refer to them as “Wellies” or “Waterboots”…

The Wellington Boot ~

Also known as rubber-boots, wellies, wellingtons, topboots, billy-boots, gumboots, gumbies, gummies, barnboots, wellieboots, muckboots, sheepboots, poopkickers, or rainboots are a type of  footwear based upon a leather Hessian boot model.

They were worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The novel “Wellington” boot became a staple of hunting and outdoor wear for the upper classes in the early 19th century.

In some parts of Ireland or Scotland, older people may refer to Wellingtons as “topboots”, usually black in colour, as this was a popular name for the boot in the 1960s. In general, Irish and UK people refer to them as “Wellies” or “Waterboots”…

Stand-up Tartan: New Liberty Square Pattern Registered For World “Occupy Movement” ~
Anyone who identifies with the Occupy Movement is welcome to wear or display the newly registered Liberty Square tartan. 
Liberty Square symbolises the golden rule of capitalism: ‘Those with the Gold make the Rules’. In a throwback to the gilded age, the spoils increasingly go to a protected class of global profiteers (represented by the gold stripes), while the ordinary citizen (centre) is gradually stripped of their freedoms, money and dignity. 
In the US, real wages for average workers are slightly below their 1970 level, whereas the top 0.1 per cent has increased its share nearly fourfold, with the 400 richest people now having assets equal to the poorest 140 million. Many democracies are becoming virtual plutocracies designed to prolong, protect and intensify the wealth and influence of those who already have wealth and influence, sapping entire nations of their vitality. 
This tartan honours the Occupy protesters around the world who have recognised the danger and stepped up to demand transparency, reform and a return to democratic values…

Stand-up Tartan: New Liberty Square Pattern Registered For World “Occupy Movement” ~

Anyone who identifies with the Occupy Movement is welcome to wear or display the newly registered Liberty Square tartan.

Liberty Square symbolises the golden rule of capitalism: ‘Those with the Gold make the Rules’. In a throwback to the gilded age, the spoils increasingly go to a protected class of global profiteers (represented by the gold stripes), while the ordinary citizen (centre) is gradually stripped of their freedoms, money and dignity.

In the US, real wages for average workers are slightly below their 1970 level, whereas the top 0.1 per cent has increased its share nearly fourfold, with the 400 richest people now having assets equal to the poorest 140 million. Many democracies are becoming virtual plutocracies designed to prolong, protect and intensify the wealth and influence of those who already have wealth and influence, sapping entire nations of their vitality.

This tartan honours the Occupy protesters around the world who have recognised the danger and stepped up to demand transparency, reform and a return to democratic values…

Scottish Superstition: Upling The Kilt ~During the days of May, Victorian tradition held in some quarters that men must be checked under their kilts.
It is thought traditional for a Scotsman to not wear under garments beneath the kilt and this was a matter of pride amongst the clans for many years. However, in Victorian times when men were becoming softer and moving away from traditional roles of fighting the English and worrying sheep, there arose a superstition that men wearing pants under the kilt would become infertile.
A custom arose that, once the colder months were clear (and no excuses left for  wearing pants) anyone spotting a young kilted man could lift his kilt to make sure he was ‘all man’ underneath. This became known as ‘Upling the Kilt’.
Making sure that no unnecessary garments were being worn ensured that the young men of Scotland kept the fertility required to father lots of bairns and so keep the clans strong…
image via UpKiltBears

Scottish Superstition: Upling The Kilt ~

During the days of May, Victorian tradition held in some quarters that men must be checked under their kilts.

It is thought traditional for a Scotsman to not wear under garments beneath the kilt and this was a matter of pride amongst the clans for many years. However, in Victorian times when men were becoming softer and moving away from traditional roles of fighting the English and worrying sheep, there arose a superstition that men wearing pants under the kilt would become infertile.

A custom arose that, once the colder months were clear (and no excuses left for  wearing pants) anyone spotting a young kilted man could lift his kilt to make sure he was ‘all man’ underneath. This became known as ‘Upling the Kilt’.

Making sure that no unnecessary garments were being worn ensured that the young men of Scotland kept the fertility required to father lots of bairns and so keep the clans strong…

image via UpKiltBears

Celts On Screen: Irishman Michael Fassbender To Play Cuchulain

Irish film fans tend to get rightly annoyed when Michael Fassbender who’s surely among the world’s hottest actors right now, is referred to as a Brit. But if the German-born, Irish-raised Fassbender’s heritage was ever a matter of ignorance, the news that he’s eyeing a role as Celtic hero Cuchulain should bring it smartly to public attention.
Cuchulain (or Cú Chulainn in some spellings) is often compared to the Anglo-Saxon hero Beowulf, though his story emerged as literature at least 100 years earlier than the famous Geat warrior myth and is about a time long before that, the Iron Age era when battling Irish clans fought for control. He is seen as emblematic by both Irish nationalists, who hail him as a Celtic hero who remained unbowed in the face of foreign intervention, and Northern Ireland loyalists, who see him as an Ulsterman who defended the north from invaders. Fassbender is developing the project with screenwriter Ronan Bennett through their London-based production company Finn McCool Films.
Son of the Celtic deity Lugh, Cuchulain is depicted as a fearsome warrior who in times of conflict would warp into a terrifying battle frenzy, or ríastrad, in which he would become unrecognisable and slay friends and enemies alike. He is also compared to the Greek hero Achilles, and the pair would have been relatively close contemporaries had they been real people. The most famous stories featuring Cuchulain, from the Irish medieval heroic Ulster Cycle legend, tell of how he defended his people, the north-dwelling Ulaid, against invaders from Connaught.
The Cattle Raid of Cooley (the name derives from suggestions that the southerners were hell-bent on nicking a famed and magical northern cow) is the longest and perhaps most famous tale. It narrates how, as a 17-year-old, Cuchulain prevented his homeland being overrun by invoking the ancient right of single combat, rather than see his uncle King Conchobar’s relatively weak army defeated by the rival Connachta tribe’s host, led by Queen Mebh. The hero takes on the southern invaders one by one, until he is finally forced to face his foster brother and best friend, Ferdiad. After four days of struggle between the pair, Cuchulain eventually triumphs, but is immediately stricken by remorse for having killed his former comrade. Even then he and his men are forced to face the Connachta host in one final battle royale.
The story of Cuchulain – and the Ulster Cycle itself – are populated by all sorts of deities and supernatural figures, so any film version would likely find itself slipping into the realms of sword and sorcery. Fassbender has emerged as a rare figure who is as comfortable (and popular) in genre fare such as X Men: First Class as he is in art-house material such as Steve McQueen’s Venice smash Shame. It puts him in the perfect position to get a film like Cuchulain made. It also would not be surprising to see Hollywood lured into providing financial backing for a movie that sounds like a Celtic cross between 300 and Braveheart with a little bit of Troy thrown in for good measure…
Source: The Guardian

Celts On Screen: Irishman Michael Fassbender To Play Cuchulain

Irish film fans tend to get rightly annoyed when Michael Fassbender who’s surely among the world’s hottest actors right now, is referred to as a Brit. But if the German-born, Irish-raised Fassbender’s heritage was ever a matter of ignorance, the news that he’s eyeing a role as Celtic hero Cuchulain should bring it smartly to public attention.

Cuchulain (or Cú Chulainn in some spellings) is often compared to the Anglo-Saxon hero Beowulf, though his story emerged as literature at least 100 years earlier than the famous Geat warrior myth and is about a time long before that, the Iron Age era when battling Irish clans fought for control. He is seen as emblematic by both Irish nationalists, who hail him as a Celtic hero who remained unbowed in the face of foreign intervention, and Northern Ireland loyalists, who see him as an Ulsterman who defended the north from invaders. Fassbender is developing the project with screenwriter Ronan Bennett through their London-based production company Finn McCool Films.

Son of the Celtic deity Lugh, Cuchulain is depicted as a fearsome warrior who in times of conflict would warp into a terrifying battle frenzy, or ríastrad, in which he would become unrecognisable and slay friends and enemies alike. He is also compared to the Greek hero Achilles, and the pair would have been relatively close contemporaries had they been real people. The most famous stories featuring Cuchulain, from the Irish medieval heroic Ulster Cycle legend, tell of how he defended his people, the north-dwelling Ulaid, against invaders from Connaught.

The Cattle Raid of Cooley (the name derives from suggestions that the southerners were hell-bent on nicking a famed and magical northern cow) is the longest and perhaps most famous tale. It narrates how, as a 17-year-old, Cuchulain prevented his homeland being overrun by invoking the ancient right of single combat, rather than see his uncle King Conchobar’s relatively weak army defeated by the rival Connachta tribe’s host, led by Queen Mebh. The hero takes on the southern invaders one by one, until he is finally forced to face his foster brother and best friend, Ferdiad. After four days of struggle between the pair, Cuchulain eventually triumphs, but is immediately stricken by remorse for having killed his former comrade. Even then he and his men are forced to face the Connachta host in one final battle royale.

The story of Cuchulain – and the Ulster Cycle itself – are populated by all sorts of deities and supernatural figures, so any film version would likely find itself slipping into the realms of sword and sorcery. Fassbender has emerged as a rare figure who is as comfortable (and popular) in genre fare such as X Men: First Class as he is in art-house material such as Steve McQueen’s Venice smash Shame. It puts him in the perfect position to get a film like Cuchulain made. It also would not be surprising to see Hollywood lured into providing financial backing for a movie that sounds like a Celtic cross between 300 and Braveheart with a little bit of Troy thrown in for good measure…

Source: The Guardian

Tartan Day ~  
Sixth April is recognized as Tartan Day in Scotland and among communities of Scottish descendants in others parts of the world. 
In Scotland, Tartan Day marks the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 at Arbroath Abbey. This historical occasion sowed the seeds of modern day democracy and was used as a basis for the American Declaration of Independence. Tartan Day was inspired by this historical occasion to celebrate all that is good about Scotland - its people, heritage, history, culture and legacy to the world.
National Tartan Day in North America honours and celebrates Scottish culture and the role it has played in the development of the United States & Canada. It has been officially observed in Canada since 1993 and the U.S. Senate passed it into law in 1998. There are typically three identified groups of people who came from Scotland to the Americas — the Lowland Scots, the Highland Scots, and those historically called the Scotch-Irish. Each of these groups has influenced the culture of North America.
Tartan is known as plaid fabric composed of a crisscrossed pattern of horizontal and vertical bands woven into cloth. It is made by weaving colored threads at right angles to each other. The Dress Act of 1746 attempted to ban tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture in order to bring people under tighter government control. The law was repealed in 1782 and tartan became symbolic as the national dress of Scotland…

Tartan Day ~  

Sixth April is recognized as Tartan Day in Scotland and among communities of Scottish descendants in others parts of the world.

In Scotland, Tartan Day marks the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 at Arbroath Abbey. This historical occasion sowed the seeds of modern day democracy and was used as a basis for the American Declaration of Independence. Tartan Day was inspired by this historical occasion to celebrate all that is good about Scotland - its people, heritage, history, culture and legacy to the world.

National Tartan Day in North America honours and celebrates Scottish culture and the role it has played in the development of the United States & Canada. It has been officially observed in Canada since 1993 and the U.S. Senate passed it into law in 1998. There are typically three identified groups of people who came from Scotland to the Americas — the Lowland Scots, the Highland Scots, and those historically called the Scotch-Irish. Each of these groups has influenced the culture of North America.

Tartan is known as plaid fabric composed of a crisscrossed pattern of horizontal and vertical bands woven into cloth. It is made by weaving colored threads at right angles to each other. The Dress Act of 1746 attempted to ban tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture in order to bring people under tighter government control. The law was repealed in 1782 and tartan became symbolic as the national dress of Scotland…

All Fool’s Day: Curious Tradition Is A Time For Fun ~
Known as Aprilsnar/April Fools’ Day/All Fools’ Day, 1st April in many countries is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes on friends, family members etc. The earliest recorded association between the date and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales dated 1392.
The history of the observation is not totally clear, but another point in time can be identified with this tradition. The year 1582 saw the reform of the calendar under the aegis of Charles IX of France. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced and thus New Year’s Day was moved from the old time of March 25 – April 1 (New Uear’s week) to January 1.
However, communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were informed of the change only after a few years had passed. As well, there were people who were obstinate against the change and refused to accept the new calendar continuing to celebrate the new year on April 1. These folk were thought “backward” and were labeled as “fools” by the general populace. According to some information, the laggard people may have been called “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” because a young, naive fish is easily caught. One common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.
Different countries/cultures have their own April’s Fool’s Day “style” or customs. The tradition eventually spread around the world. In Nordic (and some Germanic) locales, Loki - the trickster God may be seen as the king or master of this day - sanctioning all jokes, hoaxes and foolery. Don’t be surprised if April’s fool plays a trick on you but most of all enjoy this lighthearted day were being silly can be fun and good for the spirit…
image fotoflingscotland/Richard Findlay

All Fool’s Day: Curious Tradition Is A Time For Fun ~

Known as Aprilsnar/April Fools’ Day/All Fools’ Day, 1st April in many countries is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes on friends, family members etc. The earliest recorded association between the date and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales dated 1392.

The history of the observation is not totally clear, but another point in time can be identified with this tradition. The year 1582 saw the reform of the calendar under the aegis of Charles IX of France. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced and thus New Year’s Day was moved from the old time of March 25 – April 1 (New Uear’s week) to January 1.

However, communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were informed of the change only after a few years had passed. As well, there were people who were obstinate against the change and refused to accept the new calendar continuing to celebrate the new year on April 1. These folk were thought “backward” and were labeled as “fools” by the general populace. According to some information, the laggard people may have been called “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” because a young, naive fish is easily caught. One common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

Different countries/cultures have their own April’s Fool’s Day “style” or customs. The tradition eventually spread around the world. In Nordic (and some Germanic) locales, Loki - the trickster God may be seen as the king or master of this day - sanctioning all jokes, hoaxes and foolery. Don’t be surprised if April’s fool plays a trick on you but most of all enjoy this lighthearted day were being silly can be fun and good for the spirit…

image fotoflingscotland/Richard Findlay

Celtishoes

Celtishoes