Tartan Day, a holiday celebrating Scottish heritage, is held every year on the 6th of April. This is the same date on which the Declaration of Arbroath, the declaration of Scottish Independence, was signed in 1320.
What is Tartan, you ask? Tartan is the pattern we call plaid in North America. If you go to Scotland, though, plaid only refers to a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder, or a blanket.
Tartan Day originally began as a single celebration in 1982, but didn’t pick up steam until around the mid-80’s, mostly in Canada. There, an annual “Gathering of the Clans” takes place on April 6th or the Sunday nearest to it on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. This includes pipes, drums, and dancing hosted by Canada’s oldest civilian pipe band.
The United States, with an estimated 6 million people who claim Scottish descent, has been a little late in the game. It wasn’t until 2004 that the National Capital Tartan Day Committee successfully lobbied the House of Representatives to designate April 6th of each year as National Tartan Day. This Resolution was adopted on March 9, 2005.
Do you have any Scottish friends? Be sure to wish them a happy Tartan Day!