Scotland and the Fire Festival!

Culture for KidsS Highland bagpiper in kilt
Highland bagpiper in kilt (Source: Glasgow Panorama Image by: Unknown).

Lets face it Scotland is beautiful!! With a rich history and culture passed on for nearly 1000 years from the earliest 12th Century Clans. What I love about Scotland is many of the traditions are ‘living heritage’ celebrated by continual recreation and representation such as the playing of bagpipes, wearing kilts and celebrating events such as Burn’s night. Such a vibrant country and people!

Culture for Kids group loved learning about The Loch Ness Monster! Loch Ness is the most famous Loch in Scotland because of the famous tale of the Loch Ness Monster… rumoured to lurk in the murky depths. Loch Ness is deeper than the North Sea and has never been known to freeze.

The Loch Ness monster, fondly known as ‘Nessie’ has been sighted many times. The first ever recorded sighting was by the Irish Saint, St. Columbia. As the story goes… in the 6th Century St. Columbia ordered one of his monks to swim across the loch and bring a boat back. Halfway across the Loch Ness Monster arose and rushed at the monk, roaring terrifyingly! St. Columbia shouted out to the monster ‘Go no further, nor touch the man! Go back!’ And Nessie is reported to have disappeared as quickly as he arose. There have been many more sightings since then. The first photograph of was taken in 1933 by Hugh Grey, and is perhaps the most iconic picture of Nessie.

Loch-Ness-Monster.jpgLoch Ness Monster (Source: Mirror Image By: Hugh Grey)

The children enjoyed creating ‘Nessies’ with playdough!


Or a million-eyed Nessie…thanks Skyla!!

Nessie 2

We couldn’t explore Scottish culture without looking at the Scottish thistle! The iconic flower is the oldest recorded ‘National Flower’. It might seem outlandish to adopt a modest weed, but what would be more emblematic than a native-born plant which is both bold and beautiful? In the 13th Century, the thistle was first mentioned in written history as symbolic to Scotland. Legend has it, during a surprise invasion by Norse soldiers in the mid-13th Century, the Vikings planned to sneak up on sleeping Clansmen. After sacrificing their shoes to creep barefoot one of the Viking stood on a thistle! His cries of pain woke the sleeping Scots, who rose and leaped into battle… and victory was theirs 🙂

We created Scottish Thistle collages with card, tissue paper and glitter…



Scottish Flag

The Saltire is the national flag of Scotland, believed to be the oldest flag in Europe and represents the crucifixion of the apostle St. Andrew. Supposedly originated in a battle fought near the Athelstaneford in AD 832. Tradition has it an army of Picts and Scots fighting for King angus, invaded the Lothians. They found themselves surrounded by larger forces of Saxons led by Athelstan. Faced with this laregr force King Angus prayed for deliverance… he saw a sign in the clouds of a white Saltire against the blue sky. The king vowed if the gods helped him he would make Andrew the patron saint of Scotland. He was victorious and the Saltire eventually became the flag of Scotland.

We had great fun with face print, painting flags on the children’s faces 🙂


Scottish Jadey

We set up a special Culture for Kids golf course…




The children had great fun with golfing activities. Golf is supposedly to have developed in Scotland during the middle ages and is still today a long standing celebrated tradition.

Scotland and the famous Tartan Kilts! Tartan is one of the most important symbols of Scottish heritage. For thousands of years the Celts have woven chequered or striped cloth. It is believed the introduction of this form of weaving came to the West of Northern Britain with the Iron age Celtic Scoti(Scots) from Ireland in the 5 – 6th c. BC. Early Romans talked of the Celtic tribes wearing bright striped clothing – there was no word at that time for chequered. Colours were determined by local plants that could be used for dyes. Tartan became the everyday wear of highlanders, it was worn in other parts of Scotland, it was in the highlands that its development continued so it became synonymous with the symbol of clan kinship.

Our mini-explorers made mini kilts by weaving strips of paper…

12642669_221544791516044_555954774360502999_n 12651288_221545661515957_4543773214433357707_n.jpg

Thee Shetland Fire Festival is held on the last Tuesday of January in the Town of Lerwick. Known as ‘Up Helly Aa’, it is visited by thousands of people worldwide. This Scandinavian Vikings style celebrations mark the end of winter and the return of the sun. The celebrations include parades of ‘Vikings’ dressed in sheepskin, carrying axes and shields bearing torches and singing traditional songs. The procession leads to a life size replica of a traditional Viking longboat which they set on fire by hurling their flaming torches into to boat. As the boat is engulfed in flames the crown sing and then disperse to dance the night away.

The children crated flaming Viking boats…


Thanks for Reading

Donna x







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