They are vibrant, living things, constantly growing and evolving, and every generation adds the thumbprint of its own particular Scottish culture to the whole.
Take, for example, the 60 Highland Games that still take place all across Scotland annually - those are a uniquely Scottish mix of culture, sports, music and community.
Bagpipes, haggis and kilts
Everybody knows the cliché of the piper on the shortbread tin. But have you experienced the breath-taking reality of a hundred pipers skirling in uplifting unison? This isn't an image from Scotland's cultural past: it happens every August at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and on Glasgow Green.
Or take food, for example. We all know the stereotypical notions of traditional Scottish fare - haggis, porridge and whisky. Not anymore. Scotland's new elite of super-chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Nick Nairn and Andrew Fairlie are taking the country's incredible natural produce - our beef, venison and seafood – and elevating them to Michelin starred levels.
Or that the kilt is making a comeback on the catwalk as designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Glasgow's own Jonathan Saunders take traditional Scottish dress to places the clan chiefs never dreamed of. See more about kilts and tartan.
Burns an a' that
The traditional Burns Supper, Hogmanay and St Andrews Day celebrations are still very much a part of Scottish culture but the Scots are now joined on these special days by Scots at heart across the globe. 'Auld Lang Syne', a traditional Scottish song first written down by Burns, is the second most popular song in the world. Discover more about Robert Burns.
The ceilidh, a traditional Scottish gathering and dance can also be seen in village halls and at big festivals and celebrations across the country. Learn more about tradtional music and ceilidhs or try the interactive Real Ceilidh experience to see what it's all about.
Scotland's heroes & heroines
Scotland's culture has been shaped by a long tradition of strong-willed and influential characters. Find out more about these important Scottish figures.