In ancient times long before people in Scotland were wearing the Great Kilt/Belted Plaid (Breacan an Fhéilidh) the Celtic people wore the Brat/Cloak. Basically this was a very long rectangular piece of wool fabric fastened by a brooch or fibula. Eventually as time passed on this eveloved into the Feileadh Mor (great plaid) and the Small Kilt (Féileadh beag, filibeg, philabeg) of the 16th and 17th centuries respectively. Many families have their own tartans that are registered and can be found on various websites. In our modern culture we have Military groups, Irish counties, and even Public and Private organizations that all use tartan for one use or another. Basically it is a deeply rooted thing, this idea of being united as a people using a tartan.
Today the Kilt is widely recognized as a symbol of Scottish heritage, and even more loosely a throw back to identifying with ones Celtic roots. What can be said is that from the Celtic Brat, the Great kilt developed and from that we have our modern kilt; just like the ones worn in WW1 and WW2. When one wears a kilt they do so not as a costume, nor as a simple piece of garb. It can be a uniform for some, but when the wearer does don a kilt, it is most definitely done so in an honorable veneration of Gaelic pride. It is and should be a statement of who we are and who we identify with. Who are our people and what culture we honor.
With so many Pagans wearing anything from monks robes, to fantasy renaissance wear in their rituals I ask, why not a kilt? If you happen to be of the Gaelic Polytheistic persuasion, by all means this should be an option. It should seriously be considered as the main choice for your ritual attire. You may chose to look into your families roots and see if you have any Clan associations, or even see if there is something universal you could wear. If you are apart of a Tuath or Pobal you could adopt and then adapt a tartan design that you all vote on. When I say adapt I mean you could use something that is readily available and then add a stripe or two to it to change it from being 'off the shelf'. What colors would you wear and why. As with all things they should have meaning to you.
I would much rather see people united with a group tartan or even each family wearing their colors than people in robes. If people in your group already have their own family tartans thats fine, but to wear your groups colors is a great option. A nice way of looking at it is if one were to join and march with a Pipe Band, you would wear 'their colors.' So, to wear the colors of your Tuath or Pobal does make sense in that respect. For me, it makes more sense culturally to wear something from our peoples history than a style foreign to us.
The women could wear an Earasaid, a shawl, a scarf, a ruana, or even long pleated tartan skirts. There are fly plaids, and even things like neck ties, hats, and hoodies people could wear to represent the group they are with; it need not be the kilt itself. There are baby kilts & youth kilts as well. Picture the image of a large group of people in kilts, people wearing torcs, tattoos showing, torc bangles, women with braids in their hair; these are all things that can be done to honor the culture and faith we celebrate as Gaels. One doesn't have to don formal kilt attire either. There is a time and a place for that like all things. I can tell you from experience that wearing a kilt with sandals and a tank top with a torc on during the summer makes me feel closer to my peoples culture and the faith of ancestors than wearing robes any day! Yes, I own robes, I have a few sets. Again, time and place ie. performing legal rites like weddings and such.
With companies like Sport Kilt there is no reason why one can not obtain an affordable kilt for their needs. They have many styles that range from casual, hiking, or even more formal.
Picture if you will:
You are having a public ritual and picnic at a local park. You are there with your family, and many other families. The fire is lit, the BBQ is going, the sun is shining, the children are running around and outsiders see everyone in kilts and tartan. Do you think they look on with concern as if you were all standing around in robes? Nope! They see one thing that even they can understand...'a people'. They see culture and heritage. To them it looks like what it should be; a people gathered together celebrating. Celebrating what? Does it matter? Nope! It could be anything or nothing at all. Just being TOGETHER and sharing in good company. So, Why not wear a kilt?!
* I should add that one does not need to have Scottish or even Irish roots to wear a Kilt. If you're a Celtic Pagan you're already honoring the faith of the Celtic people. So why not honor the culture as well and wear a kilt or don some tartan. If kilts are not your thing, consider wearing the tartan in creative ways like a skull cap or even a shoulder sash.
Wonderful Kilt related Links:
Has many articles https://albanach.org/
Early history of the kilt https://albanach.org/early-history-of-the-kilt-e0c5b0101b5
clergy tartan- https://albanach.org/breacan-nan-clerach-the-tartan-of-the-cleric-a5f63b393c41
Sport Kilt - https://sportkilt.com/
Sport Kilt - https://sportkilt.com/