With Tartan Day right
around the corner I thought I would write a bit on the event and its
history as well as the area of Scotland where it all originated.
Tartan Day is celebrated in
a few countries, though not all on the same date. In Canada and the U.S.
it is celebrated on April 6th through Senate Resolution 55 which was
enacted in 1998 for the U.S. The celebrating of Tartan Day on that date
was started in Canada and quickly spread to the U.S. Last year the Scots
also began celebrating this day of remembrance of one's Scottish heritage
at the place of its beginning, the town of Arbroath. The largest
celebration that I know of is in New York City where they have one of the
largest parade of pipers in the world. The reason the date was chosen is
that it is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.
The Abbey was built by King William the Lion in 1178 and was dedicated to
Thomas Becket. I would imagine that Robert the Bruce may have chosen this
place for the gathering of the nobles since it was easily accessible from
both highlands and lowlands alike in its perch on the North Sea coast. The
Declaration was written by the Scots (purportedly by Bernard de Linton,
abbot of the Abbey) and sent to Pope John XXI on April 6, 1320. It
proclaimed them a free and independent nation, declared that Robert the
Bruce would be the King of Scotland, and asked him to intervene for them
with the king of England, who at that time still considered Scotland as
being under English rule. This document has been noted as the first
document of its kind, declaring the independence of one nation from
Arbroath is the largest
town in the district of Angus on the northeastern border of Scotland just
north of the Firth of Tay and extends to just south of the Grampian
Mountains. It is not only known for the fact that the signing of the
Declaration of Arbroath occurred here, but for the fact that theStone of
Destiny, stolen from Westminster Abbey in 1950, suddenly appeared here in
The area of Angus ranges
from the glens of Angus with its rolling hills and craggy mountains in the
northwest to rich farmlands to seashores. The ancient name for Angus is
Angus, but at one time it was known as Forfarshire and is sometimes
referred to by that name even today. It was the home of the Lindsays,
from the time when Sir David Lindsay of Crawford obtained lands there
through marriage. The Lindsays were considered a lowland clan even with
their close proximity to the Grampian Highlands. In one of the glens of
Angus is the ruins of Edzell Castle which was the home of the Lindsay
Lord's of Edzell. They were continually loyal to the Stewarts from Queen
Mary through Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Another castle, more well
known, is Castle Glamis which was built in the 1400's, was the childhood
home of the Queen Mother, Elizabeth, and the birthplace of Princess
Margaret. Pictures of Castle Glamis show a well kept structure which is
still in use today.
Fishing and agriculture are
the main industries of Angus, though the city of Dundee, which sits on the
Firth of Tay has been know as an industrial city for many years. In the
Strathmore valley of Angus are grown potatoes, fruit, and the black Angus
cow. This breed, now thriving in many countries, including the US, was at
one time a very pampered, calm, and obedient animal, kept inside during
the harsh winters of Scotland. It is imported by other countries for its
ability to sustain itself in all types of weather and feeding ranges.
So as you attend your
celebrations of Tartan Day this April, no matter where it may be, think of
the reason we have such a day and the area it originated in.