Scottish Cap – History and Heritage

Scottish cap history Uncategorized


The Scottish cap, also known as the Tam o’ Shanter, is a traditional Scottish headdress that has been worn by men and women for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th century, where it was worn by Scottish soldiers as part of their uniform. Today, the Scottish cap is still worn as a fashion accessory and is often seen at Scottish events such as Highland games, ceilidhs, and other cultural celebrations.

Scottish Cap o’ Shanter
Scottish Cap o’ Shanter

The Tam o’ Shanter is made of wool and has a distinctive shape. It has a flat crown and a wide, floppy brim that hangs down at the back. The cap is usually adorned with a pom-pom on top, which is often made of wool or fur. The cap comes in a variety of colors, including black, navy blue, green, and red.

Characteristics of the Tam o’ Shanter

One of the most popular stories about the origins of the Tam o’ Shanter is that it is named after the character Tam o’ Shanter in a poem by Robert Burns. Tam o’ Shanter is a farmer who enjoys drinking and ends up encountering witches and other supernatural beings during a late-night ride home. Burns’ poem is a humorous and satirical take on the superstitions and beliefs of Scottish society at the time.

Scottish Cap o’ Shanter Culture
Scottish Cap o’ Shanter Tartan

Tam o’ Shanter in Contemporary Scottish Culture

In the poem, Tam wears a “bonnet” that is often interpreted to be a Tam o’ Shanter. Burns describes the cap as having a “luggie” (earflap) on either side, which is a common feature of the Tam o’ Shanter. This association with Burns’ poetry has helped to cement the cap’s place in Scottish culture.

Scottish Cap o’ Shanter heritage
Scottish Cap o’ Shanter heritage

The Tam o’ Shanter has had a number of different uses throughout history. In addition to being part of military uniforms, it was also worn by farmers and other workers as protection from the weather. The cap’s wide brim provided shade from the sun and protection from the rain, while the wool material helped to keep the wearer warm.

Scottish Businesses and the Tam o’ Shanter

Today, the Scottish cap is primarily worn as a fashion accessory. It is popular with both men and women and is often worn to show off Scottish heritage or as a way to accessorize an outfit. The cap is particularly popular at Scottish events, where it is often worn in combination with a kilt or other traditional Scottish clothing.

Scottish Cap o’ Shanter History
Scottish Cap o’ Shanter History

Practical Uses of the Tam o’ Shanter

The Tam o’ Shanter has also been used as a symbol of Scottish nationalism. During the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, many supporters of independence wore the cap as a way of showing their support for an independent Scotland. The cap has also been used in political protests and other events as a way of expressing Scottish identity.

In addition to its cultural and political significance, the Tam o’ Shanter is also an important part of the Scottish economy. Many Scottish businesses specialize in the production of traditional Scottish clothing, including the Tam o’ Shanter. These businesses provide jobs and help to keep traditional Scottish crafts alive.

How to Wear a Tam o’ Shanter

Tam o’ Shanter is a Scottish hat that is popular around the world due to its unique shape and design. To wear a Tam o’ Shanter, first, place it on your head with the brim tilted slightly to one side. Then, adjust the hat until it fits comfortably on your head. The hat can be worn for various occasions, such as formal events, weddings, or even to add a touch of Scottish style to your everyday outfit.

How to Make a Tam o’ Shanter Hat

If you’re a fan of Tam o’ Shanter and want to make your own hat, there are several ways to do it. One of the most popular methods is to knit a Tam o’ Shanter, which involves using circular needles to create the hat’s unique shape. There are many online tutorials available that can guide you through the process, from selecting the right materials to casting on stitches and increasing the hat’s size.

How to Pronounce Tam o’ Shanter

The name of the hat, Tam o’ Shanter, can be difficult to pronounce if you’re not familiar with Scottish Gaelic. However, it’s typically pronounced as “tam-uh-shan-ter,” with the emphasis on the “shan” syllable. The name comes from the poem of the same name, which tells the story of a Scottish farmer who wears the hat.


Overall, the Scottish cap is an important part of Scottish culture and history. Whether worn as a fashion accessory, a symbol of Scottish identity, or as part of a military uniform, the Tam o’ Shanter has been an enduring part of Scottish life for centuries.

Scottish Tartan Caps & Hats
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