The Kilt At Highland Games Today
At nearly every Highland Games gathering today, there are vendors who sell tartan items, whether tailored kilts, blankets, scarves, ties, or tartan fabric. By far the greatest proportion of their sales, in the category of Highland dress, are related to "modern" Highland attire, especially the modern tailored kilt and accessories for it.
This is somewhat ironic in that the present-day Highland Games, at which the modern tailored kilt is ubiquitous, can trace their origins back to the early 19th Century interest in matters related to Highland culture. (Note: this statement should not be construed to mean that the Highland Games themselves do not have antecedents going much further back in history.) This interest manifested itself in various reconstructionist events purportedly designed as a celebration of that earlier Gaelic Highland and Celtic culture and such cultures never wore garments like the modern tailored kilt.
Instead, during the years preceding the Battle of Culloden, to the extent that the Highland people wore any kind of kilt-like garment, it was the belted plaid and not the modern tailored kilt. Yet the belted plaid is seldom seen today at Highland gatherings, and even knowledge about this garment is not widespread.
The origins of the modern short kilt (or feilidh-beag, meaning little wrap, and often Anglicized to philabeg with various spellings) are still much in debate. What is clear is that the philabeg originated from the belted plaid sometime in the early 18th Century, or perhaps somewhat earlier. The philabeg consisted essentially of the lower half only of a plaide, gathered or pleated and held around the waist with a belt. Later, the gatherings were stitched down to facilitate holding them in place and thus originated the modern tailored kilt.
Read more about this topic: Belted Plaid
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