Tartan Day has arrived! So what’s all this fuss – kilts, bagpipes, dancing – all about?
Every year on April 6, the Scottish community in the US observes National Tartan Day, created to celebrate the contributions of Scots and Scottish-Americans.
The date commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which influenced the American Declaration of Independence.
Alan Bain, chairman of the American-Scottish Foundation, was instrumental in the advancement of National Tartan Day. When the U.S. Senate officially recognized Tartan Day as a National Holiday in 1998, he was appointed by the Scottish Coalition USA to organise the celebrations in New York City.
In 2004, National Tartan Day was recognised in a presidential proclamation under President George W. Bush!
Ever heard of the NYC St Patrick’s Day Parade? Well, the Scots have their own version.
The first Tartan Day Parade was in 1999 and consisted on two pipe bands and a lively bunch of Scottish Americans, who marched from the British Consulate to the United Nations. But in 2002, the Parade came to Sixth Avenue for the first time.
This year marks the 19th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade which will kick off at 11.30 am on Saturday, April 8th, with the Tartan Day Commemoration, followed by Pipes & Drums at Bryant Park (6th Ave. and 42nd St., two blocks south of the parade start).
Remember that film Braveheart? Then you might recognise this year’s Grand Marshall, actor Tommy Flanagan!
Check back here for a gallery and blog of the day’s events!
Of course, don’t be fooled into thinking that Tartan Day is an isolated event… it’s merely the pinnacle of a whole week of Scottish activities!
On April 7, the New York Caledonian Club celebrated their annual pre-parade ceilidh, and on April 6, the musical trio – the Highland Divas – celebrated their Scottish heritage at a performance at the Cutting Room.