Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
Though topologically different, the maze and the labyrinth have been used synonymously throughout history.
A maze is a path or collection of paths, typically from an entrance to a goal. The word is used to refer both to branching tour puzzles through which the solver must find a route, and to simpler non-branching ("unicursal") patterns that lead unambiguously through a convoluted layout to a goal. (The term "labyrinth" is generally synonymous, but also can connote specifically a unicursal pattern.
Maze solving is the act of finding a route through the maze from the start to finish. Some maze solving methods are designed to be used inside the maze by a traveler with no prior knowledge of the maze, whereas others are designed to be used by a person or computer program that can see the whole maze at once.
The mathematician Leonhard Euler was one of the first to analyze plane mazes mathematically, and in doing so made the first significant contributions to the branch of mathematics known as topology.
Mazes have been built with walls and rooms, with hedges, turf, corn stalks, hay bales, books, paving stones of contrasting colors or designs, and brick, or in fields of crops such as corn or, indeed, maize. Mirror Mazes are another form of maze, in which many of the apparent pathways are imaginary routes seen through multiple reflections in mirrors.
For more about Scone palace and the Murray Star Maze (shown above), click the overhead view. The maze planted with copper and green beeches to resemble the Earl of Mansfield's family tartan, Ancient Murray of Tullibardine, is in the the shape of a 5-pointed star, which is part of the Mansfield family emblem.