National Tartan Day History
National Tartan Day is a celebration of Scottish heritage and also marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath. The Declaration of Arbroath is a declaration of Scottish Independence, signed in 1320. The declaration is in the form of a letter addressed to Pope John XXII and declared Scotland as an independent and sovereign state. The declaration was written at the Arbroath Abbey by Bernard of Kilwinning, Chancellor of Scotland and Abbot of Arbroath.
National Tartan Day originated in New York City when the mayor, Ed Koch, declared July 1, 1982 as Tartan day, a one-time celebration of the 200th anniversary of repealing the Act of Proscription (August 12, 1747), which had forbidden Scots to wear tartan. Then in 2004, the National Capital Tartan Day Committee lobbied US House Representatives to designate April 6 as National Tartan Day, a day which was adopted on March 9, 2005.
National Tartan Day Facts & Quotes
- Rachel Walker holds the Guinness World Record for wearing the most Tartans within 60 seconds. Walker managed to put on 4 kilts within 60 seconds.
- According Martin Martin, author of A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, a tartan served to distinguish residents of different regions. Eventually, the tartan was used as a symbol of belonging to a specific clan.
- The major languages spoken in Scotland are English, Scottish Gaelic and Scots.
- According to the 2014 American Community Survey by the United States Census, there are 5,365,154 Scottish American residents.
Americans of Scottish descent have made enduring contributions to our Nation with their hard work, faith, and values. On National Tartan Day, we celebrate the spirit and character of Scottish Americans and recognize their many contributions to our culture and our way of life. - President George W. Bush, April 4 2008, Presidential Proclamation National Tartan Day, 2008.
National Tartan Day Top Events and Things to Do
- Create a tartan that is unique to your 'family clan'.
- Attend a Tartan Day parade. One of the largest Tartan Day parades is held in New York City.
- Learn Highland dancing which originated in the Scottish Highlands.
- Eat traditional Scottish foods including Haggis, Scottish porridge, Scotch broth and shortbread cookies.
- Play golf. Golf originated in Scotland during the 15th century