Tartan Day Origins
Tartan Day is observed annually on April 6th. This date is significant in Scottish history as it’s the date the Declaration of Arbroath was signed. The Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320, which declared Scotland’s independence from England. (It inspired the United States’ Declaration of Independence more than four centuries later.) The United States first declared National Tartan Day in 1998 to “recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans to the United States.” The Senate recognized that nearly half of the signatures on the Declaration of Independence were from individuals with Scottish descent.
Tartan Day Celebrations
Today National Tartan Day is celebrated across the U.S. through parades, Highland dancing, bagpipe performances, genealogy discussions, Scottish food buffets and demonstrations, and relate celebrations. More than a day is devoted to the celebration in New York City. New York Tartan Week boasts a parade, a dog competition (Scotties and Westies), theatrical performances, and more. Similar events occur around the country.
“Outlander” fans, rejoice again! This year Glasgow-born actor Tommy Flanagan is the Grand Marshal of the New York Tartan Day Parade, which draws thousands of marchers. In past years, “Outlander” actors Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, Academy Award-winning actors Cliff Robertson and Sean Connery, and actor Alan Cumming are among the many notable individuals who have separately held the coveted role. In 2005, the 13th century sword of Scottish knight William Wallace made an appearance at the festivities. Next year is the 20th Anniversary of New York’s Tartan Day Parade, so expect special celebrations then!
Celebrate Scottish Heritage
Whether you’re attending a formal event locally, traveling to one of the big celebrations, or simply settling down with a cozy cup of tea and some shortbread to observe the holiday quietly – let us know how you’re celebrating National Tartan Day. Share on Facebook and Twitter @Shortbread.