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Updated 07/09/2013


Tartan Day

Tartan Day (part of Scotland Week) celebrates the existing and historical links between Scotland and Scottish descendants in North America. In the United States there are over 30 million people who claim Scots descent. Tartan Day is held on April 6, the anniversary of the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was created in 1320.

The Declaration of Arbroath was a declaration of Scottish independence, and set out to confirm Scotland's status as an independent, sovereign state and its use of military action when unjustly attacked. It is in the form of a letter submitted to Pope John XXII, dated 6 April 1320. Sealed by fifty-one magnates and nobles, the letter is the sole survivor of three created at the time. The others were a letter from the King of Scots and a letter from the clergy which all presumably made similar points.

Tartan Day is now part of the North American calendar. Supporters of the event call it a signal of the strengthening Scots-Canadian/American relationship in the 21st century. The Tunes of Glory Parade in 2002 saw 10,000 pipers and drummers march through the streets of New York. They were the centerpiece of the event where thousands of Americans celebrated their links to Scotland. One of Scotland's national treasures, William Wallace's sword, left Scotland for the first time in 700 years and was flown to New York for the Tartan Week celebrations of 2005.

The Tartan Day resolution of the United States Senate

Senate Resolution 155, March 20th 1998

Whereas April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document;

Whereas this resolution honors the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this Nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the Governors in 9 of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry, Scottish Americans successfully helped shape this country in its formative years and guide this Nation through its most troubled times;

Whereas this resolution recognizes the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans that have led to America's preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts;

Whereas this resolution commends the more than 200 organizations throughout the United States that honor Scottish heritage, tradition, and culture, representing the hundreds of thousands of Americans of Scottish descent, residing in every State, who already have made the observance of Tartan Day on April 6 a success;

Whereas these numerous individuals, clans, societies, clubs, and fraternal organizations do not let the great contributions of the Scottish people go unnoticed:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate designates April 6 of each year as "National Tartan Day.”