April 6th – Today is National Tartan Day!

Tartan Day is a North American celebration of Scottish heritage on April 6, the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. It originated in Canada in the mid-1980s. It spread to other communities of the Scottish diaspora in the 1990s. In Australia the similar International Tartan Day is held on July 1, the anniversary of the repeal of the 1747 Act of Proscription that banned the wearing of tartan.

There are an estimated 6 million people in the US who claim Scottish descent. Little was done to follow up the New York event in 1982. In 1998, a Coalition of Scottish Americans with the support of Senator Trent Lott successfully lobbied the Senate for the designation of April 6 as National Tartan Day “to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans to the United States”. Senate Resolution 155, passed on March 20, 1998, referred to the predominance of Scots among the Founding Fathers and claimed that the American Declaration of Independence was “modelled on” the Declaration of Arbroath.

On March 9, 2005, the United States House of Representatives unanimously adopted House Resolution 41, which designates April 6 of each year as “National Tartan Day.” H.Res.41 Chief Sponsors were Congressmen Mike McIntyre from North Carolina and John Duncan from Tennessee, who are the founding co-chairs of the Friends of Scotland Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Tunes of Glory Parade organised by Magnus Orr and Thomas Grotrian in 2002 included 8,250 pipers and drummers marching through the streets of New York, led by Sir Sean Connery and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.