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Burn's Night Burn's Supper Christmas Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Robert Burns Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions Wedding Kilts

Hiring vs Buying… Making an informed decision!

Bute Heather Tartan Kilt Collection
Bute Heather Tartan Kilts

There’s always an occasion to wear a kilt to. We have Burn’s Supper in January and then for the old romantics maybe a Valentine’s Day Wedding in February. Christenings, funerals, parties, through to May when Communion ceremonies start and then wedding season begins! Whether it’s your own event or that of friends or family there are sure to be many events to keep your social calender full at the weekends right through to the festive period and Hogmanay, then your back to January getting your kilt ready for Burn’s Supper again!

A kilt is a garment that last a lifetime and one that will never go out of fashion. However; with so many choices of tartan the fashion concious customers may opt to hire for each individual event and try a new tartan every time! Other may choose to buy their family tartan or a couple may decide to merge their clan tartans to create a new family tartan and have it specially woven for their wedding. It can be hard to decide whether to hire or buy but here is a quick breakdown to help you make an informed decision.

Hiring

As previously mentioned hiring may be ideal for the fashion concious kilt wearer. You can pick a different tartan each time you hire. This can often be a good option if you are one of the grooms men and need your kilt to coordinate with the bridesmaids dresses. If the grooms men plan to hire for a wedding always remember to ask your kilt maker if they provide a group hire option as this can be very cost effective! Houston’s offer a group hire option where if 5 men hire kilt outfits the groom will get his for free!

With a choice of 130 tartans Houston’s is the place to go as most hire shops have a choice of between 6 an 16.

Always ask how much you need to pay and whether or not it is refundable due to cancellation, you never know what might happen and you don’t want it to cost you!

Make sure your hire outfit includes everything you will need, you don’t want to discover on your wedding day that you are minus one shirt!

Buying

Often men will hire as buying a full kilt pack can be very costly. However; Houston’s are one of the few who provide a hire and buy option where if you buy your kilt we will provide the rest of the outfit for hire free of charge. We also have a kilt sale on and are offering 20% off made to measure kilts until the 28th February 2013 so there is no better time to buy! Using this option you can build up your kilt pack over time.

If you choose to buy a kilt it truly is a garment that will last a lifetime. So, many will choose their family tartan for its sentimental value. This made to measure garment can be cut for growth so it can be let out if you lose weight or alternatively it can be let out if you gain. That way the garment could also be passed on to the next generation of the family. Also if you buy your kilt for your wedding day, in the same way your wife keeps her dress you will have your kilt as a wonderful reminder of the best day of your life, difference being you can wear yours again!

If you are buying your kilt for a specific occasion make sure you allow 6 – 8 weeks for the production process.

Hiring is a great option for local customers as they can visit the shop easily however; for customers purchasing overseas buying is your only option unless you will be staying in Scotland for your event.

This is a short pro’s and con’s list to give you a better idea of what your options are. We hope this helps! Please feel free to ask us any questions we will try and help you in any way we can!

Don’y forget to find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HoustonKiltmakers1909
and Twitter: @Houstonkilts

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Burn's Night Burn's Supper haggis Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Robert Burns Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions traditions

Burns Supper, Honouring Robert Burns

Bute Heather Tartan Kilt Collection
Bute Heather Tartan Kilts

A very poignant date in the Scottish calender is 25th January… Burn’s Night. Burn’s night is the birthday of arguably Scotland’s most famous poet and lyricist. On this night we celebrate the life and works of Robert Burn’s or as he is referred to locally in Scotland ‘Rabbie’. Known globally for the beautiful ‘auld lang syne’ Rabbie Burns is one of Scotland’s most credited individuals, so it is only fitting that we celebrate him with a night of poetry, dancing, dining and a few whiskeys!

Burn’s supper can consist of a family gathering or a formal organised event. For the big Burn’s events there are a range of traditions which must be included. At the start of the evening a piper will normally play as the guests arrive. After guests have arrived the host or organiser will welcome and introduce the guests and the evening’s entertainment.

Afterward a prayer known as The Selkirk Grace is read thanking God for the food we are about to receive.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

This is then proceeded with Piping in the Haggis. Haggis is brought to the room, and at this stage guests would normally stand. Haggis is introduced to the room on a silver platter by the chef, the piper and the person who will address the Haggis. When the haggis is placed on the table the piper will stop and guests will once again be seated.

Then comes the important prospect of ‘Addressing the Haggis’. A tradition in which one individual will recite ‘To a Haggis’ and cut the haggis with a knife which is met by applause from the guests. The host will then raise a glass to toast the haggis and will prompt the audience to join in by raising a glass and shouting, ‘The haggis!’

Now for the best part the traditional Burn’s supper which often consists of cock a leekie soup as a starter and haggis neaps and tatties for the main course. Or for those out with Scotland this translates as haggis mashes potatoes and turnips. Sweets often include Clootie Dumpling or a Scottish sherry trifle and the meal is finished with tea coffee and cheese boards. All of which is of course n true Scottish style accompanied by lots of wine, beer and whisky!

It is now time for the first entertainer who often recites Burn’s poems or songs, most popularly Tam o’ Shanter,
Holy Willie’s Prayer, or My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose.

It is then time for the host of the evening to deliver a speech on the life of Robert Burns including his life and work to which the speaker concludes with a toast: To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns! This is then proceeded with the second entertainment where more of Burn’s work will be performed.

Then for the next toast (anything to raise a glass in Scotland!) Now it’s time for a Toast to the Lassies or to those who aren’t familiar with our colloquial Scottish tongue a toast to the ladies. This toast praises the role of women in the world today and the toast is concluded by the performer raising his glass to the room and announcing To the Lassies!

A final performance of Burn’s work is given before the ladies have their chance to respond to the gentleman’s toast to the lassies. The toast to the lassies and the ladies response to this are amongst the most humorous events that take place in the night.

The host of the evening now addresses the room and thanks everyone for their contribution to the evening and closes the proceedings by inviting guests to cross arms, join hands, stand up and sing or (perhaps slur) the classic Auld Lang Syne. So there you have it, a traditional Burn’s Supper! If you get the chance to attend it is a fantastic night or alternatively why not consider hosting your own! If you decide to go all out don’t forget to call Houston’s and get your kilt to wear!

Let us know if this has been helpful, and let us know where you will be celebrating Burn’s night!

From all at Houston’s, enjoy the Haggis!

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions traditions

Hogmanay… Scottish New Year

Well the turkey has been eaten, the presents opened and Santa has been and gone! Christmas is over and done with well, for another year at least! But the party’s not over just yet, in Scotland we’re just getting started!

In Scotland we are well known for throwing a good party and New Year or as it’s known locally Hogmanay is the biggest party of the year in Scotland! Glasgow and Edinburgh are now well known party locations where thousands gather outside and countdown to the New Year! Whilst in New York everyone watches the ball drop, Scotland holds a countdown to ‘the bells’ which ring out at midnight at Edinburgh castle and symbolise the New Year beginning.

There are various quintessentially Scottish traditions associated with Hogmanay, for example; after the bells ring everyone will shake hands and offer a kiss on the cheek to wish one another a Happy New . We then cross our arms joining hands with one another in a circle and sing Rober Burns classic Auld Lang Syne.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot for auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

The term auld lang syne is representative of notions of nostalgia and and days gone buy, in particular; those fondly remembered. It is when we sing these words that we reflect and raise a glass to the year past and the new one beginning.

Another popular tradition in Scotland is “First footing” this is the first foot in the house in the New Year. It was believed many years ago that it was good luck if the first footer were male, with dark hair and brought a gift such as coal, shortbread, salt, or whisky. It is still customary to give a gift when first footing, however; nowadays the gift is more commonly alcohol, shortbread, biscuits or sometimes even tea bags.

It is of course essential that you dress to impress to bring in the bells. The ladies will wear nice dresses and the gents wear suits and often kilts, trews and highland wear (enter Houston’s!).

These are some of our New Year’s traditions let us know yours!

Wherever you celebrate, and whatever you are doing Houston’s hope you are surrounded by loved ones and wish you all luck, love and good health in 2013!

For Auld Lang Syne!

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan Wedding Kilts

Scottish Weddings

When couples decide to jet off to get married the usual destinations are the exotic locations of Italy, Spain, Mexico and America. With these destinations within such close reach many may wonder why Canadian couple Fraser and Laura flew thousands of miles to get hitched in Scotland. It may be unclear to many but as a true Scot born and bred, I can tell you that what Scotland lacks in sunshine it makes up for in beauty, history and a rich culture. Scotland is famous for its rich culture, historic landmarks, and picturesque lochs. It is recognized in world cinema within classics such as Whisky Galore! and Braveheart. Character Stephen in Braveheart looks round at the army of Scotsmen standing strong and proud in their kilts and tells William Wallace “The Almighty says this must be a fashionable fight. It’s drawn the finest people”. It is true, that as well as the beautiful sights in Scotland the traditional dress is just as striking and symbolic of our wonderful country.

Fraser and Laura of Toronto, Canada got engaged after two years together and decided to fly almost 3,300 miles to marry in the town where Fraser’s ancestors lived before venturing across the Atlantic. The couple were not entertained by the standard practice of getting married in the popular wedding destinations of the Caribbean or Mexico, and with both Laura and Fraser’s ancestry dating back centuries to Scotland it seemed like the perfect choice. More specifically, as Fraser’s relatives had been married in Paisley Abbey centuries before that is where the couple set their hearts on for their big day. The couple faced quite a challenge arranging a wedding through only email and phone calls, but it was a challenge accepted and completed without fail. The couple commented that all the businesses they used within Paisley were particularly helpful (Oh and yes the happy couple did hire their highland wear from Houston Kiltmakers!).
It just goes to show that sometimes the most unlikely of places make the most special memories.

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Scottish History tartan

Tartan Takeover!

Houston’s had previously written on a blog about celebrity men in kilts after US rapper P Diddy rocked out Glasgow’s Fruitmarket in his grey kilt whilst flying the Saltire. This led us to think… with all the many celebrities including actors, musicians and TV stars that have donned the kilt on both stage and screen, who deserves to make the Top 10? There was much debate here at Houston HQ but the results were inconclusive, no one could agree!

Our top 10 included

PDiddy
Biffy Clyro
Gerard Butler
Ed Westwick
Ewan McGregor
Sting
Dougray Scott
Sammuel L Jackson
Mel Gibson
Rod Stewart
Mike Myers
Ashton Kutcher

However, since this list has been created we quickly began to notice, it’s not just men that are rocking the the kilt. Ladies have also bought into the tartan trend and so began the tartan takeover!
Although kilts and tartan are a traditional form of dress adaptations of these such as tartan shirts, skirts and dresses can be found in high street fashion stores. Modern fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have introduced tartan to the catwalks of the most high profile fashion shows giving highland wear a modern edge. Tartan has become a noticeable celebrity trend with various styles been worn by stars such as Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Noth, Billy Connolly, Sean Connery, Rihanna, Katherine Jenkins, Taylor Swift, Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue and Emma Watson to name only a few. Furthermore, tartan has most recently been worn by The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton which has given the tartan trend a regal accreditation. This celebrity trend has widened the tartan appeal around the globe to a much larger and more diverse audience.
Scotland has set the precedence for New Year and Hogmanay celebrations with millions of people round the world wearing Kilts, trews and other tartan clothing to honour their Scottish decent whilst singing to our very own Rabbie Burns’ beautiful ballad Auld Lang Syne. Whilst many believe the term ‘traditional dress’ to reflect ideas of old or outdated wear, kilts and tartan have never been more fashionable or versatile. Available in thousands of variations of tartan, with a diversity of shirts, ties and accessories no two outfits need ever be the same!

On that note Houston’s want to create the definitive Top Ten Tartan Trendsetters! Please leave a comment with the male or female celebrity you would like to nominate and we’ll be back soon with the results!

PDiddy in Scottish Tartan Kilt @ Glasgow Fruitmarket
PDiddy in Scottish Tartan Kilt @ Glasgow Fruitmarket