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April 6th Was National Tartan Day: What are its Origins?

Tartan Day originated in Nova Scotia, with a proposal from the Federation of Scottish Clans. On December 19th 1991, as a result of a push by the Clans & Scottish Societies of Canada, the Ontario Legislature passed a resolution proclaiming April 6th as Tartan Day.

By 2000, every province but Newfoundland and Quebec had officially recognized April 6 as Tartan Day. By 2003 Quebec had followed suit, formally recognizing the role that Scots played in the establishment of the province, and in contributing to its economic and cultural development No other cultural group has been so recognized by the predominant French population.

Tartan Day is also celebrated in Australia and New Zealand, but is held on July 1st. This date commemorated the repeal the post-Culloden Act of Proscription which banned the wearing of the kilt and other aspects of Highland culture.

As the Scottish Diaspora fed the populations of Australia, New Zealand and North America, it is understandable that the connection with the land of our fathers should be celebrated in those countries. Interestingly, even France now holds Tartan Day celebrations!

The Scottish Enlightenment was very influential across Europe and helped to shape the thinking behind the American constitution. As did the principles found in the earlier Declaration of Arbroath from 1320. The anniversary of its signing is the date on which Tartan Day is held. Common sense philosophy; and the belief that any man is as good as his master and that the people reign supreme still unite us today in the 21st century. The links between Scotland and North America, both historic and contemporary, run deep and remain strong.

Tartan Day is now firmly part of the North American calendar and a welcome signal that the Scots-North American relationship can only strengthen in the 21st century.




Written by WRRP Staff

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