A 'man of the cloth' believes honoring history and the ties that bind it will be of interest to history enthusiasts and those who have a Scottish-Irish heritage.
The Rev. Bryan McDowell, Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, will preside over a Kirking ceremony, to be held Sunday, April 7 at Minden Presbyterian Church.
"There would often be a secret blessing of the tartan, usually pieces of cloth brought secretly," McDowell said. "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."
Speaking at the Minden Noon Lions Club last week, McDowell said nearly everyone in the room and in north Louisiana could find their ancestry had Scottish or Irish roots.
"For that reason, we hope to see many at the Kirking," McDowell said. "Whether you are interested in history, genealogy or remembering- this is a ceremony you won't want to miss."
McDowell said he has researched the history of Celtic Christianity, and its ties to the US.
"In the 1700s, a wave of Scottish-Irish came to the U.S. and moved to this area by way of Pennsylvania, Tennessee and North Carolina and the piney woods," he said. "But long before then, the Druid people were introduced to the Gospel of John by missionaries, before Constantine modeled the Church after the Roman government."
Promoting an appreciation for Scottish-Irish heritage is what motivated Dr. Alan Cameron to host the Scottish Tartan Festival, which is organized by the Scottish Society of Louisiana. It is held each year on his farm.
"We hope everyone will come enjoy the Kirking of Tartan at the Minden Presbyterian Church Sunday and the festival on Saturday," he continued. "Everyone is welcome and there will be plenty to do for the whole family."
This year will mark the 7th annual Scottish Tartan Festival, which will take place Saturday – the day before Tartan Day and the Kirking Ceremony.
"We are especially excited about our annual Scottish Tartan Festival this year because of how close it falls to Tartan Day," Cameron said. "The last time the dates corresponded this closely was 13 years ago."
The Scottish Society celebrates their culture and heritage by offering living history demonstrations, exhibits, Scottish cattle herding, demonstrations of Highland Games, Gaelic language seminars, Irish stepdancing, bagpipe music and more.
The festival will take place Saturday, April 6 from 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).