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Scottish Tartans - National Tartan Day

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

It's National Tartan Day, celebrated annually on April 6th. Originating in Canada in the mid-1980s to celebrate Scottish heritage. It is now celebrated throughout North America. Read how the declaration of Arbroath inspired the American Declaration of Independence when Sir Billy Connolly led the largest celebration in New York and more!

Original Red Scottich Tartan ©MDHarding

Scottish Tartans - National Tartan Day

About National Tartan Day

Did you know that it is also the 700th anniversary of when the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320? A letter declaring Scottish Independence from English rule and naming Robert the Bruce as the lawful King of Scotland.

The document is said to have inspired the American Declaration of Independence, of which two signers were Scottish-born and half were of Scottish ancestry.

In 1998, the U.S. Senate declared April 6th to be National Tartan Day in recognition of contributions made by Scottish Americans to the United States. Local celebrations are often held on the Saturday leading up to National Tartan Day — the largest is an annual parade in New York City which was called off in early March this year. In 2019 Sir Billy Connelly led the New York Parade as Grand Marshall. Over 30,000 people lined the streets to watch the pipe bands performances, ceilidhs, attend workshops and of course parties.

About Scottish Tartan

Scottish Tartan once illegal to wear was outlawed in 1746, and banned by an Act of Parliament following the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746. It was thought that if it was banned it would stop the Scottish Clans. That was until 1782 when the ban was lifted and became the national dress for Scotland. In the 19th century when Queen Victoria and other Royal Family members sons had it accepted as a proper dress once more. Originally made of pure wool but today made from other materials. It's made with alternating bands of coloured (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over—two under the warp, advancing one thread at each pass.

The earliest documented tartan is the "Falkirk" Tartan. It was uncovered at Falkirk in Stirlingshire, Scotland, near the Antonine Wall, stuffed into a pot filled with over 200 silver coins. It is said to be the earliest piece of cloth found dating back to the 3rd century and today can be seen at The National Museum of Scotland.

The Scottish Tartan Association (STA) database, the International Tartan Index (ITI) consists of about 3,500 different tartans (with over 7,000, counting variants), as of 2004. The STWR's self-titled Scottish Tartans World Register database is made up of about 3,000 different designs as of 2004.

Johnstons of Elgin Suppliers of The Royal Balmoral Tartan ©MDHarding

Grassmarket Community - Greyfriars Tartan

Grassmarket Tartans began in 2011 as part of the Grassmarket Community Project. A talented member of the team took inspiration from the famous local story of Greyfriars Bobby and designed the Greyfriars Tartan. Discover more about Grassmarket Tartans, Greyfriars Tartan and the Grassmarket Community Project.

©MDHarding Greyfriars Tartan

Harris Tweed Tartan

"Harris Tweed has been described as "the Champagne of fabrics" and is the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament that underpins the unique status of Harris Tweed and decrees that genuine Harris Tweed must be made from pure virgin wool which has been dyed and spun on the islands and handwoven at the home of the weaver in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland" - Tartan Authority

Harris Tweed Cushion & Quilt ©MDHarding

Loganair - Tartan

Loganair, Scotland's Airline flies to and from 30 airports around the UK and Europe including the beautiful islands of Harris & Lewis.

Loganair launched its very own tartan in July 2017 with its Loganair black, red, and white colours on the tail of a Saab 340B plane named Spirit of Caithness.

The tartan was number 11,744 on the official Scottish Register of Tartans.

Did you know that you can also experience the world's shortest scheduled flight taking only two minutes? The 1.7-mile route goes between the Orkney Islands, Westray, and Papa Westray. You will also receive a certificate.

Loganair at Kirkwall Airport, Orkney ©MDHarding

I hope you have enjoyed reading and discovering more about Scottish Tartan, this National Tartan Day. Are you planning a future trip to Scotland or a staycation? Get in touch via email to organise your perfect itinerary.

Until next time, Stay Safe & Well x

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