Clan membership[ edit ] The word clan is derived from the Gaelic word clanna, meaning children.
Learney considered clans to be a "noble incorporation" because the arms borne by a clan chief are granted or otherwise recognised by the Lord Lyon as an officer of the Crown, thus conferring royal recognition of the entire clan. Clans with recognised chiefs are therefore considered a noble community under Scots law.
A group without a chief recognised by the Sovereign, through the Lord Lyon, has no official standing under Scottish law.
Claimants to the title of chief are expected to be recognised by the Lord Lyon as the rightful heir to the undifferenced arms of the ancestor of the clan of which the claimant seeks to be recognized as chief. A chief of a clan is the only person who is entitled to bear the undifferenced arms of the ancestral founder of the clan.
The clan is considered to be the chief's heritable estate and the chief's Seal of Arms is the seal of the clan as a "noble corporation".
Did You Know Marriage Customs in Scotland
Under Scots law, the chief is recognised as the head of the clan and serves as the lawful representative of the clan community. Through time, with the constant changes of "clan boundaries", migration or regime changes, clans would be made up of large numbers of members who were unrelated and who bore different surnames.
Often, those living on a chief's lands would, over time, adopt the clan surname. A chief could add to his clan by adopting other families, and also had the legal right to outlaw anyone from his clan, including members of his own family. Today, anyone who has the chief's surname is automatically considered to be a member of the chief's clan.
Here are some of the customs which used to be prevalent in Scotland and some which have survived to this day. Of course, a number of these practices were taken to other parts of the world as a result of emigration. For example, by paring an apple so that the skin comes off in one length. As the clock strikes twelve, it was swung round the head and thrown over the left shoulder.
When it landed it would form the first letter of the name of the future spouse. Also, two nuts were burnt in a fire - if they burnt quietly all would be well, if they exploded and burst, true love would be hard to find. Valentine Dealing On 14 February an equal number of male and female names were written on bits of paper and placed in separate hats.
Each person drew out a name from the appropriate hat.
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Whoever became paired, were sweethearts for the following year. The modern custom of sending Valentine cards stems from this. They would gradually pair off and when they became betrothed, they stood on opposite sides of a burn, dipped their hands in the water and joined hands. Bundling The custom of bundling was found in many parts of the country but was particularly prevalent in Orkney perhaps because of the long, dark, cold winter nights.
The courting couple were encouraged to share a bed - but they were fully clothed and the girl had a bolster cover tied over her legs! The idea was to allow the couple to talk and get to know each other but in the safe and warm confines of the girl's house.
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Name Carving Initials were often carved on tree trunks or on stones. Some of these bridal stones still exist.
Dance Halls These were popular meeting places in towns and cities in the 20th century. It was customary for the men to stand on one side of the hall and girls on the other. When the announcement "Please take your partners for The legendary question was "Are ye dancing?
Bottom Drawer and Dowries A bride was expected to have a collection of bed-linen, blankets, table linen and bedroom furnishings to take to her new home. The father was also expected to provide a dowry - perhaps a few cattle or sheep or money.
Lairds often went into debt to provide their daughters with a good dowry especially if it was the dowry which made the girl attractive! Leap Year It is said that in the 11th century Queen Margaret introduced the custom of allowing girls to ask the boy to marry her on 29 February in a leap year. It evolved later that if the boy refused, he had to buy her a dress and kid gloves instead!
Minimum Age Untila girl could legally get married at the age of 12 or above and a boy at 14 though marriage at such a young age was extremely rare. In the age was raised to However, in Scotland no parental consent is required from that age, whereas in England the consent of parents was and is required until the age of This resulted in young English couples coming to Scotland if they were unable to get their parents' permission.
The perpetuation of the tradition of the local blacksmith there carrying out a form of wedding ceremonies added to the romance. There are now over 4, weddings a year at Gretna in Scotland's "wedding capital" which has now become a popular tourist attraction even for those not getting married.
Banns Announcing the intended wedding in the church was known as "crying the banns" or "crying siller". For some time now, in an increasingly secular society, notices of marriage can also be displayed at the office of the Registrar.