On the first Friday in October, people all over the world celebrate plaid on Plaidurday. The material that we know as modern plaid has been around since the 18th century, but it’s derived from designs that were popular among Scottish families and clans. In fact, the designs that we now recognize as plaid were originally called “tartan.”

Plaid refers to the heavy woolen clothing that this pattern was used on. However, when the material was introduced to North America, the words plaid and tartan quickly became synonymous. During the 20th century, plaid gained popularity with the American public, and now there’s a holiday celebrating its existence.

The History of Plaidurday

We’ve already covered much of the history of plaid from the 18th century onward, so now we’ll take the time to talk about its history in North America during the 20th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Scottish immigrants brought plaid to the U.S., but it wouldn’t become a popular design until William B. Laughead brought it into the public consciousness.

He wrote pamphlets for the Red River Lumber Company, and in those pamphlets, he told the story of the fictional lumberjack Paul Bunyan. These tall tales were conveyed by Laughead, who depicted the legendary figure as wearing blue jeans, big heavy boots, and a red-and-black plaid shirt.

In 1924, Pendleton Mills released their version of plaid shirts, and in the 1940s, they began making these shirts for women. It didn’t take long for the popularity of this design to spread all across the U.S.

During the 1970s and 1980s, plaid became associated with the “slacker” generation and was the perfect design to distinguish the anti-establishment movement from the Yuppie generation. In the 1990s, it became associated with the grunge movement.

Plaidurday wouldn’t become a holiday until 2010, however. This is when Bugsy Sailor from Lansing, Michigan, created it after his coworkers heckled him for wearing plaid. He created this holiday to bring people together around plaid and to put it back into the public eye. On October 7th, 2011, the first Plaidurday was observed, and it has been celebrated every year since.

Observing Plaidurday

During this holiday celebration, people can take the time to wear plaid or use plaid designs (okay, yes, we know, it’s tartan) on their baskets, tablecloths, or even couch covers. People can also use the hashtag #Plaidurday to spread their love for this design all across the world. We can all come together over plaid and enjoy a design that dates back at least 3,000 years!

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 4 Friday
Next year (2025)
October 3 Friday
Last year (2023)
October 6 Friday