National Tartan Day

National Tartan Day is a holiday observed annually on April 6th. This celebration of Scottish heritage primarily takes place in North America and commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath on this date in the 14th century.

The holiday originally began as a Canadian observance among the Scottish diaspora but has since spread to other communities. Nowadays, it features marching bands and parades with Highland dancing, pipe bands, and Scottish-themed festivities.

It’s a day for people to embrace their Scottish heritage or to learn more about the heritage of their neighbors.

The History of National Tartan Day

The holiday started as a day to promote Scottish heritage in Canada on March 9th, 1986—at least, that is when the topic was brought up at the Federation of Scottish Clans in Nova Scotia.

The first official proclamation of this holiday did not occur until April 1987. On December 19th, 1991, the Ontario Legislature passed a resolution that established April 6th as Tartan Day.

This was soon followed by other Canadian provinces. Six years later, the holiday was introduced to the United States, where it became an important celebration of Scottish heritage. It has been celebrated across North America ever since.

Observing National Tartan Day

Depending on where one lives, this holiday is celebrated in various ways. That’s why we decided to review some of the major National Tartan Day celebrations and discuss some of the events people can expect. Let’s begin with Canada, shall we?

In Canada, there is an annual Gathering of the Clans that takes place every April 6th or on the Sunday nearest to it. The day is observed with Scottish pipe bands, drums, and Highland dancing.

In the United States, about 25 million people claim Scottish ancestry. This holiday is observed in many communities with parades, marching bands, and other special events.

Some of the most elaborate celebrations take place in Argentina, where over 100,000 people of Scottish descent reside, making it the largest Scottish community outside the English-speaking world. Therefore, celebrations on this holiday can be quite large and lively.

Celebrations of National Tartan Day also occur in Australia and other countries around the world. Those wishing to observe this holiday can start the day by using the hashtag #NationalTartanDay to let the rest of the world know they are celebrating this now international holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Canada (Observance)United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
April 6 Saturday
Next year (2025)
April 6 Sunday
Last year (2023)
April 6 Thursday
Appreciation & Honor