Tartan Day April 6 - How To Celebrate The Scottish Holiday

Even Elephants Celebrate National Tartan Day on April 6th In America

Tartan Elephant at the Scottish National Gallery
Tartan Elephant at the Scottish National Gallery | Source

What's a Tartan?

April 6th is National Tartan Day in America and you can celebrate by researching your family history and finding whether you have any Scottish - or Irish - heritage. Both the Irish and the Scottish have tartans. They both have bagpipes as well. Tartans are clan "plaids" from which clothing is made so that the whole family can be recognized at once.

But Beware-- Before his death in 1832, the successful writer Sir Walter Scott was behind the propagandist measure of creating phony tartans to give to Scottish workers and to English government officials that were not closely related to anyone in the UK. This included King George II, who was a German Hannover. Not all tartans are actual clan tartans. Research your family history thoroughly and deal only with respectable dealers of genealogy products. OR --

Create Your Own Tartan. You can do this for fun. After all, the original, legitimate clan tartans were created by people - the clans-people, families - in the first place. If you have young children, you can work with them in order to come up with your own family crest or coat of arms and tartan. Write a history of your family and while you chose the symbols you selected for your coat of arms - get the grandparents involved - and keep the history with your creations. You might want to use your new creations on T-shirts for your next family reunion.

When Did Tartan Day Begin?

On March 9, 2005, the US House of Representatives successfully passed House Resolution 41 to create National Tartan Day.

Just for Fun

I created this tartan in just a few seconds.
I created this tartan in just a few seconds.

Design Your Own Tartan Here

This Interactive Tartan site lets you select up to 6 colors and create your own tartans. It presents a swatch to you that you can save and you can order cloth made in that pattern.

HOUSE OF TARTAN

Located in the UK, House of Tartan can be used to search for your official family or clan tartan, or to create one of your own. Visit House of Tartan and access the free Tartan Maker!

NYC Tartan Week Parade

The First Holiday

On March 9, 2005, the US House of Representatives successfully passed House Resolution 41 to create National Tartan Day. The day is meant to honor and highlight the accomplishments of Scottish Americans in the forward progress of the United States since its inception..

Previously, in March 1998, the US Senate chose April 6 as National Tartan Day to commemorate the date of the final drafting of the Declaration of Arbroath.

After much warring between Scotland and England up to the 1300s, the Declaration of Arbroath was finished on April 6, 1320. It was written by monks at Arbroath Abbey to support Scottish nobility it was sent written in Latin to Pope John XXII, because he had not yet recognized Scotland as independent of England.

The Pope responded positively and influenced King Edward III, who recognized Scotland's King Robert (the Bruce) and Scotland a sovereign nation in 1328.

The Declaration of Arbroath is is considered a major influence on the US Declaration of Independence 450 years later. Nearly half of the American signers of our own Declaration were Scots, Scots-Irish, or recent Scottish-Americans.

Scots are popular here. Today, over 200 Scottish heritage organizations and clubs in America hold a Robert Burns Night every year. Highland Games are held annually all through the South, where many Scots and Scots-Irish people settled from the time of British colonization of the New World. Scotland is everywhere in this land.

Various Confederate companies in the American Civil War adopted plaid garments in addition to the gray and the butternut brown uniforms that they wore.

Many southern counties of the US are named for Scottish landmarks and Culloden, Georgia is named for a merchant, but also is the site of a bloody battle in April, just as was Culloden in the UK. The horrors of the Two Cullodens link our countries forever, even if the rest of the shared attributes and heritage will not.

Many Southern states, on their own, have honored National Tartan Day before 1998; but HR 41 made it official nationwide.

Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, second only to England's Most Noble Order of the Garter.
Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, second only to England's Most Noble Order of the Garter.

Well Known Scots

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Well known actor Sean Connery, the first 007, with the USAF Reserve Pipe and Drum Band in Washington, DC. Tartan Day 2004.     US Senate Chaplain, Reverend Peter Marshall (1902 - 1949). Buzz AldrinJulia Child
Well known actor Sean Connery, the first 007, with the USAF Reserve Pipe and Drum Band in Washington, DC. Tartan Day 2004.
Well known actor Sean Connery, the first 007, with the USAF Reserve Pipe and Drum Band in Washington, DC. Tartan Day 2004. | Source
US Senate Chaplain, Reverend Peter Marshall (1902 - 1949).
US Senate Chaplain, Reverend Peter Marshall (1902 - 1949).
Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin | Source
Julia Child
Julia Child

Some Famous Scots Descendants in America

  • Buzz Aldrin - Apollo 11. Second Man on the moon.
  • Neil Armstrong - Apollo 11. First man on the moon.
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Julia Child
  • Hugh Downs
  • Thomas Edison
  • Craig Ferguson - Scots-Irish, actually, and a US Citizen.
  • Malcolm S. Forbes
  • Billy Graham
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • John Paul Jones
  • Washington Irving
  • Peter Marshall - Pastor, husband to Catherine Marshall, writer.
  • Andrew Mellon
  • Samuel F.B. Morse
  • Grandma Moses
  • James Naismith - Invented basketball.
  • Allan Pinkerton - Detective
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Gordon Ramsey - Hell's Kitchen and other Food TV.
  • Ginger Rogers
  • Willard Scott - The first Ronald McDonald, a TV weatherman, and a mystery writer.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • James Whistler

My job is to find the politicians and the presidents and the pompous people who are telling other people how to live, powerful, visible creatures and ... go at them.

— Craig Ferguson

Royal Stewart Tartan

I am too distantly related to Clan Stewart to wear its tartan, but I am permitted to wear a traditional crest of the clan on a knee sock.
I am too distantly related to Clan Stewart to wear its tartan, but I am permitted to wear a traditional crest of the clan on a knee sock. | Source

Tartan Day Celebration in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Arizona
Arizona
Colorado
Colorado
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Texas
Texas

US State Tartans

The US States and several individual cities have begun to host Tartan Weeks and even Tartan Month in the USA.

Many groups hold Scottish themed parades, festivals, music events, dancing, food concessions, Burns Poetry contests, HIghland Games, and many other sorts of activities.

It's all becoming as big as St.Patrick's Day. See the links below for more.

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh,  the official royal residence in Scotland, with the blue waters of the Firth of Forth shining int he distance.
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, the official royal residence in Scotland, with the blue waters of the Firth of Forth shining int he distance. | Source

© 2010 Patty Inglish

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Comments 6 comments

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

Great hub! Really well-researched, well-presented and interesting! Great links too - like the make your own tartan one :)


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

I didn't know anything about National Tartan Day before reading this. Thanks for all the great info!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for all these interesting information. I love tartan. There is something special about them.


EnLydia Listener 6 years ago

I love everything Scottish or celtic, so this was enjoyable...I can practically hear the bagpipes and smell the heather


caretakerray 6 years ago

Patty Inglish, MS:

My mother was 100% Irish, but this is the first I heard od a tartan. I am going to design my own tartan and start a family tradition.

thanx for a great hub. :)

caretakerray


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Great Hub on tartan - there really are some wonderful traditions

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    Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish (Patty Inglish, MS)6,757 Followers
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    Over 25 years successful experience in Medicine; Health- and I/O Psychology; STEM, STEAM and other education, research, and sports training.



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