"Flags, Flags, Everywhere There are Flags!"
You see them at all Scottish events. You will see the familiar flag of Scotland, and that other one in yellow and red with a sort of lion on it. Should you be waving all this stuff yourself?
Quite simply put: NO.
So what is what?
This is the flag of Scotland. Also known as St. Andrew's Cross. Also known as the Saltire.
We only need to turn to the authority of all things official in Scotland, the Court of the Lord Lyon, to learn more about when it is appropriate to fly this national flag. This flag is the correct flag to fly for individuals or corporations. We have seen this flag in various shades of blue, but we have been told the lighter blue is the correct color.
This is the Lion Rampant flag:
Again we go to the Court of the Lord Lyon for guidance (and the above graphic):
This is NOT a national flag. Citizens and corporate bodies should not fly this flag. "... use ... is entirely wrong." WRONG!! DO NOT FLY THIS FLAG!!
This is the Scottish Royal banner. There are only a handful of individuals who may fly this banner, and that includes the The Sovereign (Queen Elizabeth). And:
- the First Minister as Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland,
- Lord Lieutenants in their Lieutenancies,
- the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland,
- the Lord Lyon King of Arms,
- and other lieutenants specially appointed.
If you fly it you are actualy breaking the law. Imagine that! Yes. I've seen as many of these flying as you have. It is actually listed as an offence under the Act of Parliament 1672 cap. 47 and 30 & 31 Vict. cap. 17.
No... you won't go to jail, but wouldn't you rather get it right? So if you are hosting a Clan MacFarlane event, please be mindful of this.
We will cover personal banners, flags and more in the future, but this is enough for now. If you would like to do your own research according to the guidance of the Lord Lyon, you can find more information here: https://web.archive.org/web/20180419210503/http://www.lyon-court.com/lordlyon/375.html
But we'll be back to discuss this again.
"Dress Code Part II"
Attend any Highland Game, and you always notice the men in their gorgeous kilts. As women, we can get very creative with what we wear. I have an outfit I received from my friend, Melissa Knox that I love. I have a short sport kilt I like to wear, and sometimes on Sunday, I just wear jeans with a Clan MacFarlane Worldwide tshirt. But no matter what I wear, I always have my tartan sash.
I have been asked how to wear the sash. About the only thing I have always been certain about, is what shoulder to wear the sash on. Clan MacFarlane does not have a Chief. Thus, we are an armigorous Clan. So if you are a member of Clan MacFarlane, you will NEVER wear your sash over your left shoulder. Only the wife of the Clan Chief (or wife of a Scottish Regiment Colonel) will wear the sash on the left shoulder.
What if you are from another Clan and married into the MacFarlanes? Well, my greatgrandmother was Effie Snodgrass. No joke, that was her name. Snodgrass is a Scottish Clan, so I could wear the Snodgrass tartan instead of my husband's. But, although the Snodgrass tartan is pretty (see below), I think I would get tired of telling folks my greatgrandmother was indeed, Effie Snodgrass.
So now, any advice on how to wear the tartan sash? Of course! The Scottish Tartan Authority has provided us with a great graphic filled with instructions, approved by the Lord Lyon. You can find this at the following website:
Again... don't worry about what you wear to the Games. We just love to see you there.
"Dress Code - Part I"
Steve and I hosted a Clan MacFarlane Worldwide tent at a Wichita, Kansas Highland Game several years ago. It was a new event, and we were very proud to be there. From that Game, we have made life-long friends with, Anita and Dan and Harold and Jennifer. Perhaps it was watching the chubby belly dancers in top hats dancing to a "bump and grind" selecton of music that created our bond. More likely, it was the fascinating conversation we had with a gentleman with a very British accent giving us all sorts of advice about everything Scottish. We learned so much from him. But when he turned to walk away and join the group forming up for the Clan parade, Dan quietly asked "who is going to tell him he has his kilt on backwards?" I quickly looked back at our guest, and indeed, you couldn't see any pleats moving. So much for all his sage advice about everything Scottish!
So other than ensuring you have the pleats to the back, what else should you consider? For me, the length of the kilt is often suspect to my scrutiny. I've seen some way too short and some way too long. There are several resources to proper length.
Mentioned in a great website: "How to Wear the Kilt" from the Scottish Tartans Authority.
"The subject of Highland dress can occupy a complete book - in fact the late Charles Thompson proved it by writing 'So you're going to wear the kilt?' and one piece of advice that many of us on this side of the Atlantic would disagree with is his assertion that 'At the very longest, the kilt should reach only to the top of the knee.' At that height it tends to lose its elegance and its admired swing and fills onlookers with trepidation in case the wearer should bend over too far..."
Steve purchased two of his kilts from a maker in Edinburgh, that has since closed its doors. (Sordid story of trying to work around the VAT taxes by shipping all goods to Palm Beach, California first and then to U.S. buyers. The IRS caught up with them.) They told Steve that the kilt should fall to the middle of the knee cap. (Oh, and be pulled up to cover the belly-button.)
Steve's third kilt was made by J. Higgins, Ltd., from Lenexa, KS. Yes, Kansas. J. Higgins makes many of the pipe band kilts, and we have found the workmanship beautifully done. If you get to peek into the back room, you will see patterns and bolts of beautiful wool tartan. You can be confident you will have a well-made kilt when you receive it. But I note that they too measured the length of his kilt to the middle of his knee. They have a guide for measuring for a kilt should you wish to order one online:
Kilts & Kilt Skirts
- Waist ___(the stomach at the navel which is the widest for men; narrowest for women. Where women wear their belts.)
- Ledge of Hip Bone ___ (This is where men would wear a belt with a pair of pants)
- Hips ___(The widest part around the seat)
- Length ___(Taken from the ledge of hip bone to middle knee while standing straight; we add 2" to this measurement. Provide total lengths for below knee skirts, we will not add 2" to these type skirts.)
- Trouser Inseam___
- Your Height ___ (in feet and inches)
- Total length of a kilt you currently own___
So I say, if they want to measure to the middle knee, that is good enough for me!
Looking for images to share with you, I did find "skortman." Ummmm... I'm not even going to post it here. Yuck! But here is a good free example from Pixaby again, of 3 different lengths. My preference? Number 1 on the far left.