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National Tartan Day 2024: Date, History, Activities, Facts about Scottish customs

National Tartan Day, observed annually on April 6 in the United States, commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath (or Scottish Declaration of Independence) in 1320.

By Desk
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National Tartan Day

National Tartan Day 2024: National Tartan Day, observed annually on April 6 in the United States, commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath (or Scottish Declaration of Independence) in 1320. The American Declaration of Independence was modelled after the Declaration of Arbroath, and a large proportion of the Founding Fathers were of Scottish descent (almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and nine of the 13 governors of the newly formed United States were of Scottish descent!)

HISTORY OF NATIONAL TARTAN DAY

In the mid-1980s, Tartan Day originated in Canada, where just over 15% of the population is of Scottish descent. It is a day for the Scottish diaspora to commemorate their heritage and the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath on April 6, 1320, which granted them full sovereignty and the right to defend themselves with military action.

Shortly after the establishment of Tartan Day in Canada in 1998, the Coalition of Scottish Americans in the United States successfully campaigned for April 6 to be recognised as National Tartan Day to honour “the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans to the United States.”

From there, it has spread throughout the world and is primarily celebrated in Canada, the United States, Australia, and, oddly enough, Argentina, which has approximately 100,000 Scottish descendants, the largest such community in a non-English-speaking country.

As for Scotland, Tartan Day did not become a national celebration until 2004, nearly 20 years after its inception in Canada.

The name “Tartan Day” refers to the woollen fabric woven in squares and crisscrossing lines, which was traditionally worn by members of ancient Scottish clans (see kilts) — a modern equivalent of tartan is plaid.

HOW TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL TARTAN DAY

Attend a parade

On April 6, there are typically parades in all major cities. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the Scottish Highlands while viewing these parades, which feature people dressed in kilts of various colours and patterns and bands of bagpipes and drums.

Wear a kilt and sporran.

If you don’t have one, get one. It’s not every day that you get to wear a traditional Scottish kilt, but on this particular day, it doesn’t matter if you think you look ridiculous because everyone else is also wearing one. In fact, not wearing a kilt will likely make you feel excluded. The sporran is another wardrobe essential for a true Scotsman. Sporran is the Gaelic word for purse, and it is a beautiful traditional pouch. Since the majority of kilts lack pockets, the sporran serves as a secure place to store your phone and wallet.

Enjoy an authentic Scottish dish.

Both haggis and black pudding are uniquely Scottish dishes. Haggis is sheep lungs, heart and liver boiled in a bag with suet, muesli and seasonings; it sounds less appetising than it actually tastes! Black pudding is a pork sausage made with dried pig’s blood, suet and oatmeal; it is not a pudding.

Five shocking facts about Scottish customs will blow your mind.

The tartan is exclusive to each clan and nation

Some nations have their own tartans with distinct patterns and hues; Canada’s is called the Maple Leaf.

The New Year’s Eve song is a Scottish composition.

The song that is universally sung on New Year’s Eve is titled “Auld Lang Syne” and was written by the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns as a Scottish folk song.

The history of bagpipes

Bagpipes actually originated in ancient Egypt and the Middle East, not in Scotland.

Gaelic is currently spoken

Gaelic, an ancient Celtic language, is still spoken in some regions of Scotland and is even taught in some schools, despite the fact that English is the country’s primary language.

The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.

Because the Scots are enamored with mythology and unicorns stand for purity, strength, unity, and bravery, they chose it as their national animal.

NATIONAL TARTAN DAY DATES

Year Date Day
2023 April 6 Thursday
2024 April 6 Saturday
2025 April 6 Sunday
2026 April 6 Monday
2027 April 6 Tuesday

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