When I noticed on my calendar that today is National Tartan Day, I got really excited! My first thought was how much I love tartan fabrics and weaves. But, of course, I knew the day was probably not created to celebrate a textile.
A bit of research educated me on the meaning behind the day. Ultimately, I would sum it up to say that it is a day set to recognize Scottish people and our Scottish heritage. For those individuals of Scottish ancestry, I am sure it has a great deal more meaning.
In the US, 2018 marks the twentieth anniversary of National Tartan Day, which was recognized by both houses of Congress. The day is celebrated on April 6 each year or a date close to April 6.
The following came form the website http://dctartanday.org/tartan-day-2018/:
The National Capital Tartan Day Committee, Inc; (“NCTDC”) is a 501(c)(3)-certified charitable nonprofit organization, incorporated in Washington, DC in 2004. NCTDC’s sole mission is to promote the National Tartan Day holiday on or about 6 April each year, as recognized by Standing Resolutions of both houses of the U.S. Congress. To advance its mission, each year NCTDC sponsors a Symposium that addresses various subjects of interest to the Scottish-American Diaspora. Together with the bipartisan Friends of Scotland Caucus in the Congress, NCTDC also sponsors a Reception each year at the U.S. Capitol to recognize and honor the many contributions of Scots, and Scottish-Americans, to the foundation and subsequent development of the United States.
There are Tartan Day events and recognition in other countries as well.
Tartan Day is a celebration of Scottish heritage on 6 April, the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. It originated in Canada in the mid-1980s. It spread to other communities of the Scottish diaspora in the 1990s. In Australia the similar International Tartan Day is held on 1 July, the anniversary of the repeal of the 1747 Act of Proscription that banned the wearing of tartan.
As this day of celebration continues to grow, who knows what will be the well known keystones. For St. Patrick’s Day, which celebrates Ireland and the Irish heritage, we think of wearing green, pinching people who don’t wear green, leprechauns, coloring everything green (like adding green dye to a fountain), eating green foods, and drinking green beer. A few things Scotland is known for include tartan plaids, the thistle which is the national flower, the blue and white national flag, the unicorn which is the national symbol, haggis, shortbread and whisky. It is thought that wearing a sprig of heather will bring one good luck!
Please join me (and Archie who is a West Highland white Terrier from Scotland) in throwing on a bit of tartan and a sprig of heather and celebrating all things Scottish! I can’t think of anything more fun!