Tartan Day in the United States, Canada, Australia and beyond is creating jobs in Scotland – Angus Robertson

Tartan Day is celebrated around the world, marking the contribution of diaspora Scots to countries including the United States of America, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

It takes place every year on April 6, the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland’s declaration of independence. This year is an extra special year, with Tartan Day being marked for its 25th year.

A quarter of a century ago, Senator Trent Lott secured the designation of April 6 as National Tartan Day in the US Senate “to recognise the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans to the United States” and a Senate resolution highlighted the large number of Scots among the Founding Fathers and stated that the American Declaration of Independence was “modelled on” the Declaration of Arbroath.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

More recently, the US House of Representatives unanimously adopted a House resolution sponsored by the founding co-chairs of the Friends of Scotland Caucus, Mike McIntyre from North Carolina and John Duncan from Tennessee, which also designated April 6 of each year as National Tartan Day. The initiative in both the Senate and Congress was followed by a presidential proclamation.

During the last 25 years, there have been events to mark Tartan Day in the US capital Washington DC and celebrations across the United States, including an annual parade of pipes and drums down 6th Avenue. The grand marshalls of the parade have included Sir Sean Connery, Alan Cumming, Brian Cox, Kevin McKidd, KT Tunstall, Karen Gillan, Sam Heughan and Sir Billy Connelly. This year it is Gail Porter.

Events are organised by tireless volunteers, including the NYC National Tartan Day Committee, the American Scottish Foundation, numerous Caledonian and other Scottish societies, with the long-term help of Scottish parliamentarians, the Scottish Government office in Washington DC, the Global Scots network, Visit Scotland and perennial participants from Scotland including Howie Nicholsby of 20th Century Kilts, the Stirling brothers of Ardbikie distillery and a wide range of Scottish universities.

While Tartan Day is a celebration of the contribution of Scots to the nations they emigrated to, it is also an opportunity to promote enduring connections with Scotland, including trade, investment, tourism and culture. I have been supporting Tartan Day for more than two decades and know how important a platform it is to promote Scotland in some of our most important markets.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That opportunity is underlined by Global Scots members like Ian Houston who says such international engagement efforts result in “increased trade, strengthen small business exports, widen charitable contributions, enlarge university partnerships, bring cities together, spur cultural, sport, and artistic links, and expand investment back into Scotland and the UK. These engagements and visits also serve to mobilise the Scottish diaspora and network in the country visited. An energised diaspora is always a huge positive.”

Tartan Day is now in its 25th year with the celebrations in New York a particular highlight (Picture: Mario Tama/Getty Images)Tartan Day is now in its 25th year with the celebrations in New York a particular highlight (Picture: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Tartan Day is now in its 25th year with the celebrations in New York a particular highlight (Picture: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Tartan Day is marked in the United States, Canada, Australia and elsewhere on April 6 every year, and helps maintain Scotland’s links with its diaspora around the world. Not only does Tartan Day celebrate the contribution of Scots emigrants to their new home country but provides an opportunity to showcase present-day Scottish innovation, education, culture and heritage. We should do everything that we can to promote Scotland internationally: it leads directly to a boost in jobs, trade, investment, educational cooperation and tourism.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.