What Is A Sporran?

Are you curious to know what is a sporran? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a sporran in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a sporran?

The sporran is a distinctive and iconic piece of traditional Scottish attire that holds historical significance and remains an integral part of Scottish Highland dress to this day. Often worn with kilts, the sporran is not just a functional accessory but also a symbol of Scottish heritage and pride. In this blog post, we will explore what a sporran is, its history, types, and its role in Scottish culture and fashion.

What Is A Sporran?

A sporran (pronounced spor-an) is a small, pouch-like, ornamental bag that is worn in front of the kilt, hanging from a chain or leather strap. The term “sporran” is derived from the Gaelic word “sporan,” which means “purse” or “pouch.” Traditionally made of leather or animal fur, modern sporrans can also be crafted from various materials, including leather, fur, and even synthetic materials like PVC or silk.

The Role Of The Sporran

  1. Functionality: Historically, the sporran served a practical purpose. Highlanders wore kilts, which lacked pockets, making it necessary to have a pouch to carry essential items such as money, keys, and food.
  2. Decoration: Sporrans are often elaborately decorated with Celtic designs, clan crests, tassels, and other ornaments, serving as a focal point of Highland dress and allowing individuals to express their heritage and identity.
  3. Cultural Significance: The sporran is an iconic symbol of Scottish culture and tradition. It is worn proudly at various formal events, including weddings, Highland games, and other celebrations of Scottish heritage.

Types Of Sporrans

There are several types of sporrans, each with its own style and purpose:

  1. Dress Sporran: The dress sporran is the most formal type and is typically made of fur, often rabbit or sealskin, and adorned with decorative features like cantles, tassels, and metalwork. It is commonly worn at weddings, formal events, and dressier occasions.
  2. Semi-Dress Sporran: This type of sporran is a middle-ground option between the dress sporran and day sporran. It is suitable for both formal and informal events, featuring moderate decoration and design elements.
  3. Day Sporran: The day sporran is simpler and less ornate than dress sporrans. It is often made of plain leather and is appropriate for everyday wear or less formal occasions.
  4. Leather Sporran: These sporrans are crafted entirely from leather, giving them a more rugged and durable appearance. They are often used in casual settings or for Highland games.
  5. Military Sporran: Military sporrans are worn by members of Scottish regiments in the armed forces. They are typically made from horsehair and have a distinctive design with a thistle emblem.


The sporran is not just a functional accessory but a symbol of Scottish heritage, pride, and tradition. It has evolved over centuries, adapting to changing fashion trends while maintaining its cultural significance. Whether worn at formal events, during traditional ceremonies, or as part of everyday Highland dress, the sporran continues to be a cherished and recognizable element of Scottish culture, bridging the gap between history and modernity.

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What Is The Purpose Of A Sporran?

Since the traditional kilt does not have pockets, the sporran serves as a wallet and container for any other necessary personal items.

What Was Kept In A Sporran?

Originating in the Scottish Islands, perhaps even Ireland, our sporran makers site the origin of the sporran as a bag to keep the hunger at bay. A pouch that would have been used for storing food, probably oats or similar when people were away from home for long periods or long journeys.

Can You Wear A Kilt Without A Sporran?

A kilt without a sporran or belt can look a little unfinished so we would always recommend wearing one of those options. The other thing to consider is where you will keep your phone, wallet or hipflask. As kilts don’t have pockets, a sporran comes in mighty handy for keeping your belongings safe.

Why Are There 3 Tassels On A Sporran?

Why do sporrans typically have three tassels? It is said to commemorate the way that the traditional sporran closures used to look, so it is steeped in history. For that reason, most sporrans will have a minimum of two tassels, but many will come with three or more.

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