Toast the New Year with a Scottish Quaich

Published: 07th December 2009
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The word Quaich comes from the Gaelic word "cuach" which means cup. Throughout Scotland's history it has been used to symbolise love and friendship.



It is thought that the first quaichs developed from scallop shells which were used ascups for drinking whiskey by people in the Highlands.. Similar to scallop shells quaichs were wide and shallow in design. handles were added to make them easier to hold. The shape of the quaich has been fixed for more than four hundred years.



Initially quaichs were made from a single piece of wood, from the late 17th century as craftsmen became more proficient they used light and dark wood and strands of copper to create intricate patterns from this time the skills needed to make quaichs were highly regarded. Other materials such as a range of materials were employed to make quaichs from stone and brass to horn and silver. The centre of the quaich was sometimes decorated with a silver coin or disc featuring a coat of arms or family motto - as well as adding a decorative aspect it serverd to hide any joins. The lugs (handles) were frequently covered with silver or pewter where the owners initials could be displayed. During the 17th century in Scotland there was a craze for adding ones initials to property.



In 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie took the quaich with him to England when he travelled down from Edinburgh with his army. These quaichs had a glass bottom so that the drinker could keep an eye out on his drinking comrades.



The most romantic Quaich had a double bottom in which a lock of hair was placed, in 1589 King James VI of Scotland gave Anne of Norway such a Quaich as a wedding gift.



A piper is often rewarded for his participation at ceremonies with a draft from a quaich.



The quaich is still popular today and can be employed at many occassions:



It is used at many Scottish weddings, offered to guests at the top table as a symbol of the shared love of the bride and groom; It is popular to raise the quaich and toast a new addition to the family at christenings; as a welcome or farewell cup by clan chiefs.



Commemorative quaichs, inscribed with a team motto can awarded as a prizes, or given as gifts, these are commonly made of pewter or silver.



For an occasion where a toast will be made such as New Year celebrations, anniversaries and so on.



Whether for ornament or use they make gorgeous presents, an can be engraved with a personal message.





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I have a background in online marketing, working for Oxfam and Mind on websites and supporter materials for five years. I am really enjoying my work with the Scotland Kilt Company which is a small friendly business in Edinburgh. Contact us with your questions about highlandwear and take a look at our website for a huge range of items many at discount prices.

info@thescotlandkiltcompany.co.uk

http://www.thescotlandkiltcompany.co.uk/


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