2021 A to Z: Letter T
Tartan Day (April 6)
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.
2020 was the 700th anniversary of the signing.
Below, is the image of the Declaration of Arbroath from the National Records of Scotland. If you want to see it up close and personal, with a lot of very interesting details check out https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/Declaration.
National Tartan Day originated in New York City when the mayor, Ed Koch, declared July 1, 1982 as Tartan day. It was a one-time celebration of the 200th anniversary of repealing the Act of Proscription (August 12, 1747), which had forbidden Scots to wear tartan.
According to the Strange Maps website, “Each year, about 150 new tartans are registered – adding to the thousands already officially recognised. Most of those are ‘modern’ patterns, created after the repeal of the Dress Act, which from 1746 to 1782 forbade the wearing of tartan. The Dress Act was part of a concerted attempt to crush clan society, which had formed the backbone of the Jacobite Rebellions, put down at the Battle of Culloden.”
Did you know?
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 to 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.
Ed note: Postcard image: sent from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.