LA WEB DE READING COMPREHENSION PREFERIDA POR LOS HISPANOHABLANTES

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TARTAN: THE CLOTH OF THE SCOTTISH CLANS

Cameron Paul

The number of colours
in the tartan showed
the rank or position
of the wearer.

   
 

HISTORY
From the very earliest times the patterned dress of warlike Scottish highlanders struck fear into their neighbours, the Ancient Britons who wore trousers. This early cloth was known as 'plaid'. It was coloured with dyes made from earth and plants which grew nearby. The colour of the cloth depended on the plants available locally.
So the tradition
arose of different patterns and colours for each clan, or family group. The oldest surviving piece of Scottish woollen checked cloth is the Falkirk tartan, which is thought to be 2,250 years old.

COLOURS AND PATTERNS
The number of colours in the tartan showed the rank or position of the wearer.
• One colour – a servant
• Two colours – a farmer
• Three colours – an officer
• Five colours – a
chieftain
• Six colours – a poet
• Seven colours – a
chief

There are also variations of the patterns and colours of the tartans that are used for different occasions. The 'dress tartan' will be a brightly coloured version for wearing to special occasions. This is in contrast to the '
hunting tartan' that uses duller colours to avoid being seen by the hunted animals. As well as tartans that show your membership of a clan, there are others that can be worn by anyone living in a certain district. There are also two special tartans known as the 'free sett', which are the 'Royal Stewart' and the 'Black Watch' tartans. These are allowed to be worn by everyone.


KILTS
Kilts are in fact a modern invention. An Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson, living in Lochaber around 1725 noticed that his workers in the iron-works were obstructed by the upper part of their plaid. He cut off this upper part, leaving the kilt we recognize today. For some reason it caught on, and one of the first great chieftains to wear one was MacDonnell of Glengarry.

ROYALTY AND TARTAN

In the 18th century, tartan was used as a symbol of Scottish power by Bonnie Prince Charlie, a famous Scottish prince, who appeared at a grand ball in Edinburgh in full Highland dress. After his rebellion against the English, tartan was banned in Scotland for 35 years.
By the 19th century, the romance of the tartan was kept alive by the popular novels of Sir Walter Scott. He organised a tartan
display on the royal visit of the British king, George IV. The king surprised everybody by wearing a highland tartan himself.
Queen Victoria decorated her castle in Balmoral with tartan and her husband, Prince Albert, designed the Balmoral tartan.
To this day the Royal family are the only ones allowed to wear it. Queen Victoria herself helped to make tartan popular for ladies to wear when she changed the red background of the Royal Stewart tartan to white. Today, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne and Prince Charles are enthusiastic wearers of tartan.


WEARING TARTAN
Although you should be descended from the original clan to wear their tartan, these days most Scots don't mind if you wear any tartan. It helps if you know the name of the tartan and a little about it, in case someone questions your right to wear it. If you wish to respect the traditions of the tartan, wear one of the free tartans, or have your very own made for you. New district tartans have been found as far away from Scotland as Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada.

THE TARTAN TOAST

Here’s to it!
The fair have
sighed for it,
The fighting
sheen of it,
The brave have died for it,
The yellow, the green of it,
Enemies
sought for it,
The white, the blue of it,
Heroes
fought for it,
The swing, the
hue of it.
Honour the name of it,
The dark, the red of it,
Drink to the fame of it,
Every
thread of it! The Tartan!

Source: New English Digest

GLOSSARY

patterned: a cuadros
trousers:
pantalones
dyes:
tinturas
nearby:
de los alrededores
available: disponibles
arose: surgió
rank: rango, categoría
wearer: portador
chieftain: cacique, cabecilla
chief: jefe
hunting tartan: tartán para salir de cacería
duller: más apagados

cut off: recortó
caught on: se popularizó
banned: prohibido
display: exhibicón
to this day: hasta la fecha
sighed: suspirado
sheen: lustre, brillo
sought: buscaron
fought: lucharon, pelearon
hue: tonalidad
thread: hilo

READING COMPREHENSION ACTIVITY

Read the article again and find the answers to the following questions. Then check your answers here.

1. Complete this line from the Tartan Toast: The brave have ...

2. Which Scottish prince appeared in full highland dress at a ball?

3. Name two members of the British Royal Family who often wear tartan.

4. Name three types of tartan.

5. How many colours can a poet wear in his tartan?   

6. What is another name for the tartan?    

7. Which English Queen decorated her castle with tartan?   

8. Name two tartans that everyone is allowed to wear?

 

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