Culture of Scotland

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Addressing the haggis during Burns supper:
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

The culture of Scotland is the national culture of Scotland. It originates from various differences, some entrenched as part of the Act of Union, others facets of nationhood not readily defined but readily identifiable.


[edit] Scots law

Main article: Scots law
, see also Category:Scottish law.

Scotland retains Scots Law, its own unique legal system, based on Roman law, which combines features of both civil law and common law. The terms of union with England specified the retention of separate systems. The barristers being called advocates, and the judges of the high court for civil cases are also the judges for the high court for criminal cases. Scots Law differs from England's common law system.

Formerly, there were several regional law systems in Scotland, one of which was Udal Law (also called allodail or odal law) in Shetland and Orkney. This was a direct descendant of Old Norse Law, but was abolished in 1611. Despite this, Scottish courts have acknowledged the supremacy of udal law in some property cases as recently as the 1990s. There is a movement to restore udal law[1] to the islands as part of a devolution of power from Edinburgh to Shetland and Orkney.

Various systems based on common Celtic Law also survived in the Highlands until the 1800s.

[edit] Scottish education

Main article: Education in Scotland
, see also Category:Education in Scotland.

Scotland also has a separate Scottish education system. The Act of Union guaranteed the rights of the Scottish universities, but more importantly, Scotland became the first country since Sparta in classical Greece to implement a system of general public education. This began with the Education Act of 1696 and became compulsory for children from the implementation of the Education Act of 1872 onwards.

As a result, for over two hundred years Scotland had a higher percentage of its population educated at primary, secondary and tertiary levels than any other country in Europe. The differences in education have manifested themselves in different ways, but most noticeably in the number of Scots who went on to become leaders in their fields during the 18th and 19th centuries. The politician Jim Wallace stated in October 2004, that Scotland produces a higher number of university and college graduates per-head than anywhere else in Europe.

School students in Scotland sit Standard Grade exams and then Higher Grade and/or Advanced higher exams. Also, a Scottish university's honours degree takes four years of study as opposed to three in the rest of the UK. The university systems in several Commonwealth countries show marked affinities with the Scottish rather than the English system.

[edit] Banking and currency

Main article: Economy of Scotland
, see also Category:Economy of Scotland.

Banking in Scotland also features unique characteristics. Although the Bank of England remains the central bank for the UK Government, three Scottish corporate banks still issue their own banknotes: (the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank). These notes have no status as legal tender (although they can be used throughout the UK, particularly in Northern Ireland, where Irish banks also issue their own banknotes) and they are also freely accepted in the Channel Islands. In Scotland, neither they nor the Bank of England's notes rank as legal tender (as Scots law lacks the concept), however banknotes issued by any of the four banks meet with common acceptance. See British banknotes.

For a further discussion read Legal Tender

The modern system of branch banking (in which banks maintain a nationwide system of offices rather than one or two central offices) originated in Scotland. Only strong political pressure during the 19th century prevented the resultant strong banking system from taking over banking in England. However, although Scottish banks proved unwelcome in England at the time, their business model became widely copied, firstly in England and later in the rest of the world. This is not to say that the Scottish banking system was immune from crises - especially the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878.

The Savings Bank movement was created in Scotland in 1810 by the Reverend Henry Duncan as a means of allowing his parishioners to save smaller amounts of money than the major banks would accept as deposits at that time. His model for the Ruthwell Parish Bank was adopted by well-to-do sponsors throughout the world. The American examples eventually became Savings and Loan Associations and most of the British savings banks amalgamating to form the Trustee Savings Bank, which recently merged with the commercial bank, Lloyds Bank, to form Lloyds TSB. However the Airdrie Savings Bank maintained its position outside this process.

Scotland also developed a number of powerful Life Assurance companies during the 19th and 20th centuries. These were predominantly managed on the mutual model, offering with-profits investment as well as protection business. Financial pressures since the 1980s have led to their demutualisations and most are now part of larger financial institutions.

See [2] for further information on the history of Scottish banking.

[edit] Sports

Main article: Sport in Scotland
, see also Category:Sport in Scotland.

Scotland has many national sporting associations, such as the Scottish Football Association (SFA) or the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU). This gives the country independent representation at many international sporting events such as the football World Cup. Scotland cannot compete in the Olympic Games independently however, and Scottish athletes must compete as part of the Great Britain team if they wish to take part. Scotland does however send its own team to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

Scotland also has its own sporting competitions distinct from the rest of the UK. The main football competitions are the leagues organised by the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League. Teams in the Highland Football League, the East of Scotland Football League and the South of Scotland Football League also compete in the Scottish Cup, while those in the Scottish Junior Football Association are outwith that structure. Scottish football clubs compete in international competitions, such as the UEFA Cup and the Champion's League.

The Scottish Rugby Union are responsible for that sport, whose main competition is the BT Premier League. Regional Scottish rugby clubs also compete in the Celtic League, along with teams from Ireland and Wales and in the Heineken Cup, the European League for Rugby Union.

Scotland is considered the "Home of Golf", and is well known for its courses. As well as its world famous Highland Games (athletic competitions), it is also the home of curling, and shinty, a stick game similar to Ireland's hurling.Scottish cricket is a minority game.

[edit] Media

Main article: Media in Scotland

Scotland has distinct media from the rest of the UK. For example, it produces many national newspapers such as the Daily Record (Scotland's leading tabloid), the broadsheet The Herald, based in Glasgow, and The Scotsman in Edinburgh.

Sunday newspapers include the tabloid Sunday Mail (published by Daily Record parent company Trinity Mirror) and the Sunday Post, while the Sunday Herald and Scotland on Sunday have associations with The Herald and The Scotsman respectively.

Regional dailies include The Courier and Advertiser in Dundee and the east, and The Press and Journal serving Aberdeen and the north.

Scotland has its own BBC services which include the national radio stations, BBC Radio Scotland and Scottish Gaelic language service, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal. There are also a number of BBC and independent local radio stations throughout the country. In addition to radio, BBC Scotland also runs two national television stations. Much of the output of BBC Scotland Television, such as news and current affairs programmes, and the Glasgow-based soap opera, River City, are intended for broadcast within Scotland, whilst others, such as drama and comedy programmes, aim at audiences throughout the UK and further afield.

Two Independent Television stations, STV and Border, also broadcast in Scotland. Most of the independent television output equates to that transmitted in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the exception of news and current affairs, sport, comedy, cultural and Scottish Gaelic language programming.

Tele-G is the only Gaelic language service, broadcasting UK wide on the Freeview platform every night between 6pm and 7pm on Channel 8.

[edit] Food and drink

Main article: Scottish cuisine
, see also Category:Scottish cuisine.

Although the Deep fried Mars bar is jokingly said to exemplify the modern Scottish diet, Scottish cuisine offers such traditional dishes as haggis, Buccleuch Scotch beef, the Arbroath Smokie, salmon, venison, cranachan, bannock, Scotch Broth and shortbread.

[edit] Arts

Main article: Arts in Scotland
, see also Category:Arts in Scotland.

It has very influential literature.


[edit] Philosophy

Scotland has an extremely strong tradition in philosophy (especially for such a small country). Duns Scotus was one of the premier Medaeval scholastics. In the Scottish Enlightenment Edinburgh became the home for an astonishing amount of intellectual talent, including Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith. However other cities also produced major thinkers at this time: Aberdeen for example, produced Thomas Reid. While the Scottish contribution in the 19th and 20th centuries has not been quite so impressive, there have been a steady stream of major philosophers, historians and thinkers.

[edit] Science in Scotland

Scotland has an extremely strong tradition in science and engineering.

[edit] Other facets of Scottish culture

See also Category:Scottish culture.

Scotland retains its own distinct sense of nationhood. Academic research consistently shows that people in Scotland feel Scottish, whilst not necessarily feeling the need to see that translated into the establishment of a fully-independent Scottish nation-state.

Scotland also has its own unique family of languages and dialects, helping to foster a strong sense of "Scottish-ness". See Scots language and Scottish Gaelic language. An organisation called Iomairt Cholm Cille ( has been set up to support Gaelic-speaking communities in both Scotland and Ireland and to promote links between them.

Scotland retains its own national church, separate from that of England. See Church of Scotland and Religion in the United Kingdom.

The patron saints of Scotland are Saint (Queen) Margaret and Saint Andrew, and Saint Andrew's Day is celebrated in the country on 30 November.

These factors combine together to form a strong, readily identifiable Scottish civic culture.

[edit] Miscellaneous

Scotland's iconic claims to fame include:

Cover of a Gaelic punk single featuring four contemporary bands singing in Gaelic

[edit] References


[edit] See also

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