Shopping for Tartan in Edinburgh

By Philippa Burne, UK, June 2012

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When we think of tartan we think of Scotland. The distinctive checked woven cloth, made into kilts, blankets and scarves, fills our eyes with color and choice when we wander down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

But why are there so many different patterns? Is it just aesthetic or does it have a deeper meaning?

The wearing of tartan began in the Scottish highlands and different regions wore different colors depending on the dyes available from their lands. Trouble brewed during the Jacobite revolts of the 17th century when the Highlanders were seen to side with the deposed king James II. Suddenly, wearing tartan was seen as a political statement. In 1746, the Dress Act actually banned the wearing of tartan except by the British Army’s highland regiments. This changed in 1782, but it wasn’t until fashionable King George IV came to Edinburgh in 1822 and wore tartan that the real craze began.

Editor’s Note: This recommendation was taken from our Edinburgh Things to Do blog. Visit the original post to continue reading the full post and to learn more about things to do in Edinburgh.

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