top of page


This was sent to us by The MacNab Township in Canada.

April 6th is Canada's official Tartan Day!

WHAT IS TARTAN DAY? Well here is one Canadians can be proud of. Tartan Day is a Canadian celebration started not in Scotland or any other country of the world, but on the east coast of Canada. Tartan Day originated in the late 1986 in Nova Scotia, where it was declared an official day by the provincial government. At a meeting of the Federation of Scottish Clans in the Antigonish court house there was “a discussion as to how few heros, in this day and age, for children to look up to or a person who could be held up as someone you would like to pattern yourself after.” At that time the people of the area wanted to honour the memory of the Scottish ancestors who settled their area, and a lot of the rest of Canada, with hard work, determination, and faith in God. Does this sound familiar about the Scottish pioneers who came from Scotland to work the Laird of McNab’s land grant in the area of Arnprior,White Lake, Burnstown, Glasgow, Braeside and Lochwinnoch to the Ottawa River.

The minutes of that meeting read as follows: March 9, 1986 motion by Bill Crowell Pres. of clan Cameron and seconded by Jean Watson Pres. of Clan Farquharson…. That we establish a day known as Scot day”. Following more discussion the motion was ammended to read Tartan Day. The wearing of Scottish attire especially in places where the kilt is not ordinarily worn ie., work, play, worship… in honour of our forbearers. It then spread across the country, with many provinces joining in and Canada developing its own tartan (the Maple Leaf Tartan). On October 21, 2010, the Minister of Canadian Heritage officially declared April 6 as Tartan Day. From here Tartan Day spread to the USA and eventually worldwide.

Okay so why was the wearing of the tartan so important you ask? Well this goes back all the way to King Edward’s “excursions” into Scotland. Unfortunately in 1305, the Pope recognized Edward 1st of England as overlord of Scotland and Robert the Bruce was excommunicated and sent to Rome. It was Edward’s determination at that time that the wearing of the kilt was condemned and that the Scots were to wear truiss (tartan trousers) instead of kilts. Eventually Edward decided that the wearing of any kind of tartan, even a ribbon in the hair would be a crime punishable by death on the spot. Of course this did not go well with the Scots. They started something called the kirking of the tartan. Needless to say back then they didn’t advertise it because the English and their supporters were not to know about it. King George IV on visiting Scotland decided that based on his genetic Scottish heritage and royal lineage to the Scottish throne, decided that the wearing of the tartan would be legal. He sponsored a great ball to celebrate the ruling. King George IV required that for the Grand Ball to celebrate the ruling,” no one would be allowed to enter if they didn’t wear tartan of some kind.”

Based on this history, it seems that the Scottish heritage has been faced with large obstacles in retaining their historic garb. For some reason it was thought that the bagpipe was also banned. However there is no proof that they were banned. The group in Nova Scotia made a good decision to establish a special event to celebrate our heritage. Tune in to your local paper next week to see where this tartan story goes next. Until then we suggest that you dig out your tartan finery and plan to join us April 6th at the Horton Community Center. The McNab and District Celtic Heritage Society is planning on celebrating Tartan Day with a pot luck meal at 12:30 that day. Come prepared for a good time with food, music and dancing and a tartan weaving demonstration by Bob Hinchley. Everyone is welcome to come and help us celebrate. We ask that you wear your tartan to church, that way you don’t have to go home after church to get changed. Surprise the rest of the parishioners with your Celtic heritage. Then come to the Horton Community Center and join the celebration at our event. The McNab and District Celic Heritage Society members are looking forward to seeing you there.

102 views0 comments


bottom of page