What is a clan?

This is a very important question since it defines the relationships between individuals of the same clan. The word "clan" actually comes from Gaelic "clannad", the "children". These are the children and descendants of a person. This is why many Scottish clans have in their surname "mac" which means "son of".

To enter a clan is to enter a family. We represent every day, every moment this clan and its Chief. We carry his values.

Clan chiefs

In France, Scottish clans have been represented since the beginning of the 2000s. They have opened adoptions, which means that anyone wishing to be part of it can apply for it ... Being a member of a clan commits and engages you and your descendants; it is not a decision that one takes on a whim; on the contrary, it must be carefully thought out.

A clan is recognizable to its tartans. These are defined (and immutable) colors and patterns that have been created over time. The colors and patterns are similar to heraldry; they have a meaning as well as a precise history. Some tartans of our clan have a story related to that of another clan. Here is a comparison chart of what a clan is and what it is not.

A clan is:

A family ; it concerns spouses, wives, children, grandchildren ... This family is international; there are Ramsay in Scotland, in Europe, in the United States, in Australia ... When a Ramsay from one country moves to another country, he can warn the members and thus meet on behalf of the clan. The clan spirit is very strong.

Rules of social conduct ; a clan generally demands exemplary conduct. Between the members of a clan and the clans themselves, the greatest respect is required and the clansmen are clearly asked to have gentlemanly conduct. Between the clans themselves, there reigns a strong spirit of fraternity.

Rules of political and religious conduct ; it is customary for no one to express himself politically or religiously in the name of the clan. On Scottish independence, discretion is required. Religion does not intervene in the life of the clan.

Joint activities ; our clan offers throughout the year various activities punctuated by two highlights: The Burns that brings the clan at the end of January in memory of the poet Robert Burns, we eat haggis while drinking whiskey and the Franco-Scottish Festivals, mid-July when we meet the other clans.

A minimal contribution ; it is about 30 € and is not intended to be higher ... Members can make donations but it remains an affordable contribution so that members of the clan can participate in his life. The contribution is family; it concerns all members of a household.

It is a dress code ; the members of the clan identify with their tartans, how to wear it and how to dress. There is a deep respect for the symbols of the clan, its tartans and the values ​​they convey.

It is also a respect of its rules ; clan members are held to the extent of their ability to follow the clan's direction when it is proposed.

A clan is not:

A club ; a place where only people of a certain category meet to do what they want. The rules of operation are very different. Clans and their branches are run by appointed and unelected people. Operation is not democratic. Moreover, some clans do not work in association because the 1901 law is not necessarily compatible with clan laws. The clan dues are minimal, which are not usually those of the clubs.

A group of friends ; it is above all a family. We go back for the clan, because we want to be part of the family and not to spend evenings with friends by finding an excuse to do so. It is for this reason that there can be no guarantee of friendship between branches of the same clan; it's a family ...

An association of kilts wearers ; Those wishing to get together with friends to carry kilts or even to design their own tartan can meet in kilo carrier associations. There are some in France and some clansmen or clanswomen also belong to an association of kilo bearers.

A Masonic Lodge ; a clan is generally not related to Freemasonry. Some members can be part of this old brotherhood, it is not incompatible with their commitments. However, this has nothing to do.

A unisex association ; it concerns the home, the couple and their children. Women and men have the same rights and duties within a clan. Some clans also have women as clan leaders.

A place of protest ; the clan has its obligations and its members are asked to respect the decisions taken. The clan system is not democratic.

Clan laws

Here are some questions and answers from the website of Lord Lyon (the herald of arms of Scotland) that shed light on some aspects of clan life.

Who is a member of a clan? Every person who has the same surname as the chief is deemed to be a member of the clan. Equally a person who offers allegiance to the chief is recognised as a member of the clan unless the chief decides that he will not accept that person's allegiance. There is no official list of recognised septs. This is a matter for each chief to determine. But where a particular sept has traditionally been associated with a particular clan it would not be appropriate for that name to be treated by another clan chief as one of its septs.

Is a crest the same as a coat of arms? The word "crest" is often used as the general definition of a coat of arms, but it is not correct. A crest is part of a heraldic design. This is the symbol that appears on the helm which is itself upon the shield, the crest. The shield contains symbols (called figures ...).

What tartan can I wear? It depends on the clan to which you belong. Strictly speaking, you are not allowed to wear your mother's tartan unless you have taken her last name. You can only belong to one clan. If you do not belong to any particular clan, you may wear a district tartan if you are descended from an ancestor belonging to the district concerned. The district's tartans are Lennox, Huntly and Strathearn. Otherwise, you can wear the Jacobite, Caledonia, Black Watch or Hunting Stewart.

What is my coat of arms? A clan does not have a coat of arms. The leader of a clan has his own coat of arms, but it belongs to the chief and can not be used by anyone else. What a member of a clan can use is a badge consisting of the chief's crest, in a form of belt and buckle. The belt shows the chief's motto on it.

Who is my clan chief? First, you must decide which clan you belong to. If your last name is the same as the name of a clan, you will definitely want to be part of this clan. If your family name is different, your family name may be that of one of the members that a particular clan chief has recognized as part of the extended family of his or her clan. If your last name is different from one of the recognized septs, then it is up to you to decide which clan you want to give to your loyalty. It's your personal choice. If you want to know the name of the person who is the chief of a particular clan, the list of chiefs appears in the annual publication Whitaker's Almanack.

Can anyone who comes down from someone who has had a coat of arms use it? A coat of arms belongs to only one person at a time. He passes from the owner to his eldest son, then to his eldest son and so on. Other family members may, depending on their relationship and name, be able to request a "differentiated" version of the weapons that will be granted by the Lord Lyon. If you think you are in this position, you must write, giving details of the circumstances, to the clerk of Lord Lyon (Scottish law).