I don’t know about you but my event’s calendar for the first few months of the year has been pretty choc-a-block. So far this year I’ve had to deal with Burns’ Night, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year and even the anniversary of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s death. So, with March coming up I was looking forward to a bit of respite from the whirligig of social activity, alas, that is not to be as National Tartan Day is just around the corner.
Tartan Day 2017
Before we go any further, I must confess my ignorance. Until I started to write this blog, I had no idea what Tartan Day was, nor had I even heard of it. Therefore, in order to slake my thirst for knowledge and to hit my required word-count, let’s have a look at what Tartan Day actually is.
Tartan Day: The Origins
Tartan Day first came about as a one-off celebration of Scottish culture to mark the 200th anniversary of the Act of Proscription being repealed. I’m sure my regular readers will be aware of the Act of Proscription, it being the Act of Parliament designed to break up the Clan system in order to prevent further rebellions such as those seen in 1745. The Act of Proscription also banned Highlanders from wearing tartan so the anniversary was marked by a celebration of all things tartan. That was it for tartan day until a group of Scottish Americans lobbied for April the 6th to be recognised as National Tartan Day in order to appreciate the influence Scotland and Scottish Culture has had on the United States of America.
Tartan Day's Date
Why was the 6th of April chosen as the date for the annual Tartan Day celebrations? To mark the signing of the declaration of Arbroath, of course! I mean really, you should have guessed that one. The Declaration of Arbroath was a letter sent to Pope John XXII in 1320 by a number of Scottish noblemen . These noblemen sought to confirm Scotland as an independent nation, an aim which was ultimately successful (I guess you could argue that the union of the crown in 1707 made it unsuccessful again though, couldn't you?). The declaration is considered by some to be an early example of popular sovereignty - the idea that the monarchy exists to serve the people, not the other way around, although this is a contested view the Declaration has been hugely influential in shaping Scotland's image of itself.
“...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
These lines, which could so easily have been lifted from the American Declaration of Independence, in fact come from the Declaration of Arbroath. It is not surprising then that when, in 2008, President George W. Bush signed the presidential proclamation marking April the 6th as National Tartan day, he made it clear that this date was significant as the Declaration of Arbroath had been used to help shape the American Declaration of Independence and that Scottish Americans had played major roles in founding America.
Tartan Day Today
Today (meaning nowadays, not actually today - unless you are reading this on April the 6th in which case I guess I do mean today), Tartan day is not only celebrated in America where people of Scottish descent make up 3.1% of the population but also in Canada ( 15.1% of the population have Scottish ancestry) and Argentina (around 100,000 Argentinians have Scottish ancestry). Australians and New Zealanders also celebrate Tartan Day but they do it in August.
If you plan on celebrating your Scottish Heritage on April the 6th, we have a whole host of fantastic tartan outfits you can choose from to help you embrace your heritage. All of our tartan clothing and accessories can be fully customized and can be shipped direct to you in time for Tartan Day 2017. Top of the list to create a stir has to be the new Tartan Skirlt launched last month.