Local traditions and culture in Edinburgh

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Edinburgh

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    Make Poverty History

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 27, 2012

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    During my most recent visit to Edinburgh, the city was getting ready for the big "Make Poverty History" march on July 2, 2005, on the occasion of the G8 Summit Meeting which is to be held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire on 6 to 8 July.

    I used to think "G8" meant "The Greedy Eight" or "The Gluttonous Eight", but in fact it stands for the 'Group of Eight' nations, namely the eight richest countries in the world. The purpose of the march is to demand "trade justice, debt cancellation, and more and better aid for the world's poorest countries."

    Related meetings and events were already being held, including the "Time to Talk" program, which includes exhibitions, conferences and talks, music, as well as theatre and dance performances.

    These events are co-sponsored by the Edinburgh City Council, which says "as a Council we congratulate the organisations that have contributed to, and promoted, the success of the Make Poverty History Campaign. All parties in Council support the principles of the campaign, which are to provide developing nations with an appropriate aid rate, to promote Fair Trade and export subsidies, and to cancel the national debts of the poorest countries."

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    parade

    by uglyscot Written Jun 12, 2009

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    I have no idea what the occasion was but as we were about to leave Edinburgh, a parade of taxis and other vehicles drove in a procession with masses of balloons of different colour flying in the breeze. It was amazing to see them on a weekday morning: was it a wedding procession, or what, aand why was were they driving along Moira terrace towards Portobello?

    procession with balloons

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    Pipe Bands and Brass Bands

    by uglyscot Updated Sep 20, 2006

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    Scottish pipe bands are always an attraction and can be seen at the Festival Cavalcade and the Tattoo, but not all pipers are Scots. At the cavalcade in 2006 there was an Asian band of pipers.
    Brass bands were also popular , and came from Norway, America , and Britain as well.

    Scottish pipers Asian drummers ...and pipers Brass band Scottish pipeb band
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    A Romantic Place for a Wedding

    by scottishvisitor Written May 14, 2006

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    Although the tiny St. Margaret's Chaple is the oldest building in Edinburgh Castle it is still very much in use today. In years past it was only officers garrisoned here at the castle who could get married in the chaple but times have changed with troops needed in less peaceful places. So if you fancy a totally different venue for a Wedding - check out the famous Chaple.

    The Oldest Building in the Castle Why we are closed Here Comes the Bride
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    An Idea from Queen Victoria

    by scottishvisitor Written May 14, 2006

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    Queen Victoria had this dog cemetery created a top Edinburgh Castle. This little resting place captured my interest , as like the Royals, I love dogs. You won't find any Royal dogs here though the charming little cemetery was created for officer's pets.

    Resting in Peace Floral Reminders
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    Famous Buildings & Famous People

    by scottishvisitor Written Apr 26, 2006

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    Edinburgh has many old and impressive buildings John Knox House is just one of them. The house was built in 1450 and has seen many modifications over the centuries. It is unclear whether John Knox ever was the resident but records show he made a ranting speach to the people of Edinburgh from one of the windows in this house. John Knox was known as The Great Reformer of the Church of Scotland & was Minister of St. Giles Cathedral which has no Manse and is a short distance from here so maybe he did indeed stay here.

    An Old House in Edinburgh Did John Knox stay here?
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    An age old custom

    by scottishvisitor Written Apr 23, 2006

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    The Heart of Midlothian was set into the cobbles of the old High Street outside St. Giles Catherdral but it has no connections with the Cathedral as some people think. It's purpose was to mark the position of the 15th. century Tolbooth which was demolished in 1815. When the Tolboth occupied this site the criminal faternity of Edinburgh spat on the door as they walked past this hated & cruel institution. Thankfully not many spit now I am sure you will be relieved to know.

    A Heart for a Reason
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    The gun

    by sparkieplug24 Updated Apr 20, 2006

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    Its a custom or tradition in Edinburgh that every afternoon at one oclock the old gun/cannon in the castle is fired. This happens every day at lunch time and its simply called the one oclock gun. Also for the first time in the history of the one oclock gun earlier this year a woman fired it .

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    The Heraldic Arms of the City of Edinburgh

    by gordonilla Written Apr 8, 2006

    Although Edinburgh, like the other Royal Burghs of Scotland, used armorial devices on its seals and in other ways from early times and certainly from the 14th century, the 'achievement' or coat of arms was not formally granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms until 1732. The arms were used by Edinburgh Town Council until the reorganisation of local government in Scotland in May 1975, when the council was succeeded by The City of Edinburgh District Council and a new coat of arms, based on the earlier one, was granted.

    The castle has long been a symbol for Edinburgh, the Castle Rock having been fortified since Neolithic times

    The crest probably derives the office of Ardmiral of the Forth held by the Lord Provost - an anchor wreathed about with a cable all proper (that is, in natural colours) set on a wreath of the colours. This wreath or torse represents cloth coloured by the city's livery, silver on one side and black on the other, and twisted so as to show three twists of each colour.

    Above the anchor is the motto, 'NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA', associated with Edinburgh since 1647.

    Two figures or 'supporters' flank the shield. On the 'dexter' (ie the viewer's right) stands a doe. The adoption of the maiden as a supporter probably derived from the fact that Edinburgh Castle was known, certainly in the 13th century if not earlier, as 'Castrum Puellarum' (Castle of the Maidens). Although this name was probably a corruption of a Gaelic or Brythonic name sounding like 'Maiden' but meaning something else, there is a legend that in the Dark Ages the Castle was used as a safe residence for royal princesses, and it is also believed that it housed a nunnery in this period. The doe or hind is associated with St Giles, the city's patron saint. Until the Reformation, they were often shown together on the civic seals. The earliest representation of the maiden still extant dates from 1640, carved on a stone in Parliament Hall.

    Current Arms of Edinburgh Former Arms of Edinburgh

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    The "real" Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

    by Dabs Written Feb 8, 2006

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    Deacon "William" Brodie was the real life inspiration for the horror classic "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson. He was a respectable tradesman during the day but at night he led a double life as a heavy drinker and gambler and eventually a thief. To support his habits, he started taking wax impressions of keys from houses he was working on, returning later to steal from them along with an English locksmith, George Smith. A bungled job led to his arrest, he was caught and hanged in 1788 although rumors had him cheating the hangman and surfacing later in Paris.

    Stevenson, an Edinburgh born author, also wrote "Treasure Island" and "Kidnapped". The climate in Scotland did not agree with his delicate constitution, he eventually settled in Samoa where he died at age 43.

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    the pub

    by dotshand Written Aug 5, 2005

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    the pub is a great meeting place for a chat and a pint (beer or lager) There are lots of pubs to go to, some are themed pubs and there are still a lot traditional pubs left with big wooden bars and wooden floors that sell traditional scottish ales, go along chat with the locals or just watch the football or rugby on the t.v.

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    gun at the castle

    by dotshand Written Aug 4, 2005

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    At 1pm every day you will hear a big bang in the city centre, this is the one 1pm gun going off at the castle. Mons Meg, is an old cannon which gets fired at this time, usually this is when you can spot the tourists because they usually get a fright when they hear this. Go up the castle at this time and you will see it being fired

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    The Scottish flag

    by MalenaN Updated Apr 23, 2005

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    The Scottish flag dates back to a story from 832. The Scottish army was going to fight an English army and before the battle the Scottish king prayed to St Andrew for help.
    St Andrew was the first Christian missionary and the Romans sentenced him to death in 60AD. He then chose another cross then Jesus had been crucified on, as he didn’t think he was worthy to have the same shape. Well, it is said that the Scots saw white clouds formed as St Andrew’s cross against a clear blue sky. The king swore that if they beat the English army St Andrew would from then be the patron saint of Scotland. And they won!

    The flag is also called the Saltier.

    The Saltier
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    Thistel

    by MalenaN Updated Apr 23, 2005

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    In one of the souvenir shops at Edinburgh Castle I bought a tapestry cushion cover with a thistle on it. The thistle is a symbol of Scotland and has been so for many centuries.
    The stories are many of how the thistle became the symbol of Scotland. One story is about how the army of king Hakon IV of Norway attacked the Scots. In 1263 king Alexander III wanted to buy back the Western Isles and Kintyre, which had been a Norwegian territory for a long time. The Norwegians had shown little interest in the region, but after king Alexander’s request the interest re-awoke. The Norwegians landed on the coast of Largs and wanted to surprise the Scots during night. To approach silently they removed their footwear. But the ground was covered in thistles and one of the men cried out loud. This warned the Scots of the Norwegian attack and in the end the Scots won.

    Thistel
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    Free entrance

    by MalenaN Updated Apr 4, 2005

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    In Edinburgh there is free entrance to many of the museums, which is great because other places cost a lot (for example the Castle) and you can visit them over and over again without being ruined.
    Museums which I visited with free entrance were:
    Museum of Edinburgh
    Museum of Scotland
    Royal Museum
    Writers’ Museum
    Canongate Tolbooth

    Example of other museums with no admission:
    Bank of Scotland Museum
    Museum of Childhood
    Surgeon’s Hall Museum
    National Gallery of Scotland
    Royal Scottish Academy (You have to pay for special exhibitions)
    Scottish National Portrait Gallery
    Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

    Museum of Scotland
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Edinburgh Local Customs

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