Tartan Day 2013 Guide

Tartan Day Parade, New York City

Tartan Day Parade, New York City

With Tartan Day just around the corner, we’ve put together a selection of global events celebrating Scotland’s contribution to the world. This year’s festivities range from a Ceilidh in Cuba, to historical reenactments in Buenos Aires and Whisky tasting in the Netherlands.

Celebrated on April 6, Tartan Day falls on the anniversary of the signing of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath. The declaration sought to assert Scotland’s right to self-govern and to lift the church’s excommunication of Robert the Bruce. Signed by fifty-one magnates and nobles, the declaration was written in Arbroath Abbey by Bernard Linton, Abbot of Arbroath Abbey and Chancellor of Scotland. It was addressed to Pope John XXII who supported England’s Edward II’s claim to the throne in Scotland. The declaration explained how the Bruce had delivered Scotland from Edward I’s unjust atrocities, and that Scottish independence was the prerogative of the Scottish people, rather than the king of Scots.

As well as shaping Scottish national identity, the Arbroath Declaration’s ideas about kingship, independence and the rights of the people is said to have formed the basis of the American Declaration of Independence. The rich contribution Scots have made to America was recognised in 2005 with the House of Representatives declaring April 6 National Tartan Day. A Presidential Proclamation for the national day was issued by George W. Bush on April 4 2008.


  • Arbroath – Friday March 29 – April 7
    A ten day programme of events that includes a commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, an international golf competition and talks by geneaologists and historians. www.tartandayscotland.com

United States:

  • New York City – Tartan Week April 3-9
    Not satisfied with just one day, New York celebrates with an entire week dedicated to all things Scotland. The main event is the parade with over a thousand pipers and drummers marching along Sixth Avenue on April 6. Other events include The Caledonia Collective, Macbeth on Broadway and the 10K Scotland Run. www.tartanweek.com
  • Dallas, Texas – Tartan Day Ceilidh April 7
    An annual free event held by the Scottish Society of Dallas. Features the North Texas Caledonian Pipes and Drums, Seamus Stout, Highland Dancing and educational displays. www.scottishindallas.org
  • Los Angeles, California – April 6
    The Tartan Day Dinner will be held at the historic Tam O’Shanter Inn and will feature music by Peter Romano of The Ploughboys and piping by Cindi McIntosh. www.saintandrewsla.org


  • Halifax, Novia Scotia – April 5
    The birthplace of ‘Tartan Day’ celebrations, the Halifax festivities will include stories about Prince Charlie, dancing, poetry and a four-course dinner. www.scotsns.ca
  • Ottawa, Ontario – April 7
    A day of heritage, piping, song, dance, and drums will be celebrated in Ottawa with the Sons of Scotland Pipe Band performing. www.sospb.com

Australia and New Zealand:
Tartan Day celebrations in the Oceania region are held on July 1, the anniversary of the Repeal Proclamation of 1782 annulling the Act of Proscription of 1747, which had made wearing tartan an offense punishable with up to seven years’ transportation. Events in 2013 are currently being planned in Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland.

Rest of the World:

  • Havana, Cuba – April 6
    A Ceilidh will take place in Havana at Las Estacaiones Pub, with fiddlers Chrissy Crowley and Anna Ludlow hosting and open session of Scottish and Cape Breton tunes alongside Celtic duo Sean Am. www.facebook.com/CelticMusicSessionsInHavanaCuba
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – April 7
    Argentinians will celebrate Tartan Day with a Celtic and Nordic Fair, pipe bands, a reenactment of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath and a parade along Mayo Avenue.
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands – April 7
    Events in Rotterdam will include a tartan fashion show, Whisky tasting and highland dancing. www.theworldofscotland.nl
  • Fish Hoek, South Africa – April 8
    The Tartan Day Dance features an open evening of dance presented by the Fish Hoek Scottish Country Dance Club. www.scd.za.net

About Nadine Lee

Originally from New Zealand, Nadine is a documentary researcher now based in the north east of Scotland.

View all posts by Nadine Lee →

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