Celebrating Tartan Day

Tartan Day North Carolina

Celebrating Tartan Day
A Quiz & A Giveaway

By Susan Jackson

The Declaration of Arbroath Image: https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/Declaration

In the United States, April 6 is set aside for National Tartan Day! April 6 was chosen because the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320 on that date by Scottish barons and sent to the Pope, asking him to recognize Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as their true and lawful king.

The Declaration states:

“As long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

Tartan Day originated in Canada after a proposal by the Federation of Scottish Clans in Nova Scotia. An official proclamation came in 1987, and the United States followed ten years later due to the efforts of the Scottish Coalition USA in Sarasota, Florida. In 1998, the US Senate gave Tartan Day official recognition, and that year, the first Tartan Day Parade took place in New York City. The parade was small compared to current festivities, with just two bagpipe bands and a group of Scottish-descended Americans participating.

Thanks in part to North Carolina’s own Congressman Mike McIntyre, who co-founded the Friends of Scotland Caucus in the House of Representatives, there was a push for an annual day on the calendar. The resolution was adopted in March 2005, and in April 2008, President George W. Bush signed a proclamation declaring April 6th as Tartan Day.

The NC General Assembly designated the multi-color plaid pattern known as the Carolina Tartan to be the official State Tartan in 1991. Created by Peter MacDonald of Crieff, Scotland, who registered it with the Scottish Tartans Society in 1981, the colors of red, black, yellow, green, white, and azure (some call it Tarheel blue, but I doubt Mr. MacDonald was aware of the heated college rivalry here in North Carolina!) were inspired by an early Royal Stewart tartan used for military uniforms, and it is believed to have been worn by King Charles II of England as ribbons on his wedding suit. The Carolinas were named for his father, King Charles I.

Tartan Day is celebrated across the world but on two different dates: April 6 in Argentina, Canada, Scotland, United States, and July 1 in Australia and New Zealand. It looks as if New York City holds the honor of the largest celebration in the US, dedicating an entire week to Scottish heritage with festivities of all kinds! Their grand parade is the highlight of the event with “…over 3,000 bagpipers, Highland dancers, clan organizations, Scottish dog breeds, and more, proudly marching up Sixth Avenue amongst tens of thousands of spectators in person and online,” according to NYCTartanWeek.org. Outlander’s Graham McTavish and Sam Heughan held the honor of Grand Marshal in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

North Carolina boasts a wonderful resource where you can search for your family tartan if you know the surnames of your Scottish ancestors. The Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center, Inc. in Franklin has an online database available, making it convenient for everyone around the world to find their clan! According to one source, the Black Watch tartan is usually recommended for anyone that doesn’t have a family tartan to wear.

Will you be celebrating Tartan Day? There are some local celebrations around North Carolina, though they are not as prominent as events such as the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, held every July in Linville, NC. If I wore a tartan, I’d wear the Armstrong plaid (pictured below), as my grandmother was an Armstrong, and the next closest Scottish ancestry I have is Cahoon (Colquhoun).

Now, its time to test your knowledge with the quiz below!


On May 4, in the gorgeous mountains of Ashe County, NC, Outlander North Carolina is hosting “An Evening on the Mountain,” featuring performances from NC’s own Bill Caudill, Greenstone, and Lily Harwell, and a special performance by Griogair Labhruidh, whom you may be familiar with as one of the Gaelic singers on the Outlander TV series soundtracks! Check out this Tartan Day offer–good through April 7, 2024!


Take the Tartan Day Quiz below & be entered in this week’s giveaway of the travel makeup bag pictured above! The quiz consists of only FIVE (5) questions which are all based on the article you just read. One winner will be chosen by random drawing on Tuesday, April 9, and will be notified via email.

Giveaway Rules

No purchase is necessary to win. You must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the United States. Winners will be randomly drawn from all entries and notified by email. Void where prohibited.





Click the image below to get 18% off your EVENING ON THE MOUNTAIN tickets with code QUIZ18!



Click the image below to get 18% off your EVENING ON THE MOUNTAIN tickets with code QUIZ18!

#1. The Carolina Tartan was inspired by what historical tartan?

The correct answer is the Royal Stewart Tartan.

#2. April 6th was chosen as Tartan Day because this document was signed on that day?

The correct answer is the Declaration of Arbroath.

#3. Which U.S. President signed a proclamation declaring April 6 as Tartan Day in the US?

The correct answer is George W. Bush.

#4. Tartan Day originated in what country?

The correct answer is Canada.

#5. Tartan Day is celebrated on July 1 in which two countries?

The correct answer is Australia & New Zealand.


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