Dust off that tam, put on your kilt, and fill up your bagpipes because it’s Tartan Day! That’s right, an entire day dedicated to celebrating Scottish heritage. 6 April 1320 was the day the Declaration of Arbroath was signed. The document confirmed Scotland’s status as an independent, sovereign state and the ability to use military action when attacked.
Over 6 million people in the US claim Scottish descent, myself included all the way back to the Gordons. Travel back to the homeland is unattainable for most so what’s the next best thing? Throw a party here, of course! In 1982 the city of New York celebrated the 200th anniversary of the repeal of the Act of Proscription which outlawed the wearing of the tartan, but nothing else was done until 1998 when the Coalition of Scottish Americans lobbied the Senate for a day to “recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans to the United States.” Now we get to celebrate our bonny blue flag and tins of shortbread every year while enjoying pipe bands, whisky, and Highland dancing.
Your hometown not throwing a ceilidh? Head over to New York for a massive parade of pipers, dancers, clans, and furry Scotties and grand marshalled by some of the most famous Scots known to planet earth. Sean Connery, Alan Cumming, and this year Outlander’s own Sam Heughan.
Tartan Fun Facts:
* the first color photo was a tartan ribbon
* Scotland is synonymous with tartans, but the pattern has been found in central Europe, Scandinavia, and 3,000 year old mummies
* tartans varied by region due to the dyes and materials distinct to the area. The Victorians made them clan specific
* a tartan is not a plaid. A plaid is a garment tucked at the waist and worn over the shoulder