For Educators

Where in God’s World is Scotland?

by Tina Tocco

Fascinating Facts about Scotland

Scotland is the northernmost country in the United Kingdom. The country has nearly 800 islands, but only about 130 are inhabited. The Scottish climate is mainly cool and wet, with   some areas getting rain 250 days a year.

Football (soccer), rugby, and cycling are popular sports here.  Two sports invented here are shinty and curling.  Shinty is similar to field hockey.  A shinty ball can travel over 100 miles per hour.  In curling, players try to hit a target by sliding large “stones” (heavy disks) across the ice.

One of the most popular Scottish events is the Highland Games. The games have been played for hundreds of years and include the hammer throw, tug-of-war, and tossing the caber (a tall pole weighing at least 100 pounds).

Animals you might see here include golden eagles, pine martens, otters, porpoises, capercaillie, and salmon, which leap along some of Scotland’s rivers.

The national dish of Scotland is haggis, a combination of sheep’s liver, lungs, and heart.  You might find it served with “neeps” and “tatties” (turnips and potatoes).  Scots also enjoy black pudding (sausages usually made with pig’s blood) and stovies (corned beef, potatoes, and onions). A delicious dessert here is clootie pudding, made with raisins, dates, ginger, and cinnamon.

One of the things you probably think about when you think about Scotland is tartans (what we usually call plaids). Tartans have been part of life in Scotland since at least the 1500s. Tartan is often made into kilts, a traditional piece of Scottish clothing. Scots might wear a tartan that “belongs” to their family, meaning the pattern has been handed down for generations.

Scottish kids study many of the same subjects you study—music, languages, math, history, and computers—but most schools also offer religious and moral education. Prayers and music are typically part of a daily assembly.

Some important holidays here are St. Andrew’s Day* and Burns Night.  St. Andrew’s Day (November 30) honors Scotland’s patron saint. Celebrations might include parades, fireworks, African drumming, light shows, and readings of Scottish stories. Burns Night (January 25) honors the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns and is celebrated with bagpipes, haggis, and readings of Burns’s poetry.


Learn the Language

Along with English, Gaelic is one of the official languages of Scotland.  The Scottish Gaelic language is often heard on the country’s islands, but can be found on the mainland as well.  Try these Scottish Gaelic phrases:


What’s your name? — Dè an t-ainm a th ‘ort?


Nice to meet you. — Toilichte coinneachadh riut.


How was school today? — Ciamar a bha an sgoil an-diugh?


I love the bagpipes! — I love a ‘phìob!


Try some haggis. — Feuch taigeis.


*For more information on St. Andrew, check out Faith Heroes on page 41.



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