Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 14: Scotland

Welcome to Scotland!

Ok, so next week is Halloween and we've covered mummies from Egypt, vampires from Romania, and now we're in Scotland for......the Loch Ness MONSTER!!  The most famous lake monster in the world lives (?) in Scotland's most famous lake, Loch Ness.  Along with Nessie, Scotland is also supposed to be chock full of ghosts, so it is a great place to visit for Halloween!  But we're going to learn more than that this week.  I've got some treats in store for our Scottish menu, maybe we'll play a little golf, and we'll get a little lesson about the language.  Ready?

Scotland is the second biggest country in Great Britain, lying to the north of England, it has been a part of the Empire of Great Britain since 1603, when the King of Scotland also became the King of England and united the two countries.  The country also includes 787 islands, many of which are uninhabited except by migratory birds. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh, located on the map at 55.95ºN/3.22ºW.  Scotland is famous for its wool and wool products, tweeds, and its tartans.  Tartans are the different plaids that are used in kilts and other garments.  Each plaid (tartan) comes from a different clan (family group) from different areas of the country. Scotland is also known for kilts, which are basically  traditional skirts worn by the men.  I'm not sure why traditionally they wore skirts since the country is rather cold and blustery a lot of the time but they did. Another Scottish tradition is playing bagpipes, although, supposedly, bagpipes originally came from Central Asia!  Know another Scottish trademark that might have come from Central Asia?  Red hair!!  The gene mutation that causes red hair has recently been traced down to Asia.  Red-headed Asians are not unheard of - remember Genghis Khan from Mongolia?  He had red hair.  Coincidence? Who knows? One thing that goes with red hair is a fiery temper and judging by Scotland's motto, "No one provokes me with impunity" or "Nemo me impune lacessit" it seems that they have a bit of a temper (also like Genghis Khan) and they are proud of it.  Also, their national plant is the thistle - spiky but beautiful.  There have also been many inventions that have come out of Scotland.  A few include: the telephone, pnuematic tires, penicillin, chloroform and, not surprisingly considering the damp climate, the waterproof raincoat!  All this and their national symbol is the Unicorn!!  How cool is that?!  Everyone loves a unicorn :)