Americans of Scottish descendants have reason to celebrate this weekend as National Tartan Day is celebrated in Minden and across America.
According to the National Capital Tartan Day Committee, Inc., Scottish immigrants and descendents played a vibrant and influential role in the development of the United States.
"From the framers of the Declaration of Independence to the first man on the moon, Scottish-Americans have contributed mightily to the fields of the arts, science, politics, law, and more," according to the committee's website. "Today, over eleven million Americans claim Scottish and Scotch-Irish roots - making them the eighth largest ethnic group in the United States. These are the people and accomplishments that are honored on National Tartan Day."
In 1998, National Tartan Day of April 6 was officially recognized on a permanent basis when the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 155 recognizing April 6 as National Tartan Day. This was followed by companion bill House Resolution 41 which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 9, 2005.
The date of April 6 commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted Scotland's sovereignty over English territorial claims, and which was an influence on the American Declaration of Independence.
The 7th annual Scottish Tartan Festival will be held Saturday April 6, which is the first time in 13 years the festival has fallen on the national holiday.
The celebration continues Sunday at Minden Presbyterian Church during a Kirking Ceremony at 10:45 a.m.
"There would often be a secret blessing of the tartan, usually pieces of cloth brought secretly," said Rev. Bryan McDowell, who will preside over the Kirking. "The Kirking will honor the history and culture of that time and the events that have happened since."
"Tartan" refers to the pattern of interlocking stripes, according to the Scottish Tartan Museum. In 1746, the British government, in the Act of Proscription, forbade the wearing of tartan in an attempt to suppress rebellious Scottish culture.
According to the Scottish Tartan Museum website, "While not necessarily an ancient Scottish ceremony per se, the Kirkin,' as a Scottish-American ceremony, celebrates not only the family heritage of the descendants of Scottish immigrants to the United States."
The Scottish Society celebrates their culture and heritage during the festival by offering living history demonstrations, exhibits, Scottish cattle herding, demonstrations of Highland Games, Gaelic language seminars, Irish stepdancing, bagpipe music and more.
Festival times for Saturday are 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Admission for adults is $5, children (ages 6-12) $3 and children under 6 get in free. Scotland Farms is located on LA 518 (Old Athens Road) and Hwy 79 (Homer Road).
Schedule of Events
Red River Pipes and Drums Opening Ceremony - 10 a.m.
Border Collie herding of Highland Cattle - 11a.m. & 1 p.m.
GRAND MARCH OF THE CLANS RR Pipes & Drums - Noon
Gaelic /Welsh Language Seminars with David Gressett - 1 & 3 p.m. (Gaelic) 11 a.m. & 2p.m. (Welsh)
Dog Show – 1 p.m.
Red River Pipes and Drums - 2:15 p.m.
Bonniest Knees Contest – 3 p.m.
Demonstration of Highland Games -10 a.m. – all day
Hayrides 10 a.m. – all day
Red River Pipes and Drums - 2:15
Jackson Irish Dancers - 11 & 12:30 p.m.
Port Belly Project(Belly Dancers) - 1:15 & 3p.m.
10:15-11 a.m. Frank Walsh
11:15-Noon Jed Marum
12:30–1:15 p.m. Cleghorn
1:30-2:15 Smithfield Fair
2:30-3:15 Jed Marum
4-4:45 Smithfield Fair
5-5:45 Traveling Murphys
10:15-11a.m. Traveling Murphys
11-11:45 Jackson Irish Dancers
12:30 – 1:15 p.m. Jackson Irish Dancers
1:15-1:45 Port Belly Project (Belly Dancing)
2:00-2:45 Frank Walsh
3:00-3:45 Port Belly Project (Belly Dancing)
3:45-4:30 Traveling Murphys