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It’s no lie that the Scots, with their tartan and distinctive dialects, are sticklers for a wide array of traditions. Some are ancient, others are relatively recent. From post-night out foodie rituals to Scottish rites of passage, discover a handful of traditions and customs only Glaswegians can understand.
An expedition that no one could ever interrupt, finding a place for food (usually a chippy) during the wee hours of the night after an evening at the dancin’, is a mandatory pilgrimage for Glaswegians, and all Scots for that matter. Whether a munchy box (a pizza box stuffed with a glorious concoction of all things deep-fried), chips and cheese, haggis, naan bread or deep-fried Mars Bar, the post-skite bite is always the best. After social gathering, the best part of the night is always the scran run.
To Scots, the ritual of chucking boiled eggs down a hill at Easter seems a perfectly normal and justified tradition, until they conflab with non-Scots who have never heard of such an occurrence. Either way, come Easter, Scots from far and wide gravitate towards a hill or some space with at least a slight gradient, and roll some eggs. The eggs are hard boiled beforehand and typically decorated with paint by the children. A family affair, this ritual is to signify the rolling back of the stone on the day that Jesus rose again.
An ongoing feud that may never be resolved — the salt and sauce debate. Basically, when in Glasgow, you put salt and perhaps some tomato sauce on your chippy, as opposed to the Edinburgh custom of salt and brown chippy sauce. In other words, salt and ketchup on a chippy is a ritual so ingrained into Glasgow culture that it can never be revoked. Long story short, a guy from Glasgow tried to sue a chippy in Edinburgh for charging extra for ketchup. The disgruntled customer claimed that this was discrimination against Glaswegians. The Chippy owner stated that if it were his way, ketchup shouldn’t be on a chippy in the first place.
With the large Chinese community in Glasgow (the areas of Charing Cross and Garnethill are Scotland’s Chinatowns of sort) comes a significant celebration in honour of the Chinese New Year. The various festivities, which include a vibrant display of parties, gatherings, ceremonies, traditional attire and foodie feasts, are an integral part of the Scottish festival calendar.
As daft as it may appear, the Scots have a penchant for placing cones on the heads of numerous statues. No Scottish place, however, is as notorious as Glasgow when it comes to this curious cultural ritual. Noble and iconic, the Duke Of Wellington equestrian statue would not be the man he is today without the traffic cone on his head. The council tried to take it down and increase the size of the statue to detract from such shenanigans. But alas, Glaswegians united as one through campaigns, petitions and marches until they reigned victorious. Keep the traffic cone!
Come rain or shine, the Scots (especially Glaswegians) like to take their taps aff (tops off). It is as common to see gallus Glaswegians roaming about shirtless on a pure baltic day, as it is when the desired football team scores a goal. To better explain this custom, no one is taking their tap aff when the opposing team wins!
During the month of January and when the 25th appears, Scots from far and near congregate and celebrate Scotland’s national Bard, Rabbie Burns. Quite the social spectacle, Burns suppers are awash with tartan, poetry, songs, whisky, extravagant toasts and Scottish dishes like haggis, shortbread, Cranachan and cock-a-leekie soup. You don’t have to go far in Glasgow to find some sort of Burns shindig.