Tartan Day on Ellis Island Returns this week from 6 – 9 April 2017
“Tartan Day on Ellis Island” – one of the nation’s largest Tartan Day celebrations – returns for its 16th annual observance this week, featuring the exhibition “A Celebration of Tartan,” as well as daily performances by pipers, drummers, Highland Dancers and a whole host of Scottish entertainment.
The Clan Currie Society – one of the country’s leading Scottish heritage organisations, produces Tartan Day on Ellis Island. The Ellis Island event is a highlight of NY Tartan Week – a city-wide festival of all things Scottish.
“A Celebration of Tartan”
The exhibition will trace the history and explore the mythology surrounding Scotland’s most enduring icons. From the kilted clans of the Highlands to the runways of Milan, tartan is the definitive symbol of Scotland. Yet tartan, thanks to Scotland’s gift of it, is beloved throughout the world. No other fabric is so steeped in tradition or paradoxically, so consistently at the forefront of fashion. Historians study it while designers design in it. Rockers and royals alike agree – tartan rules.
Interpretive panels will explore the fact and fiction of tartan, and how this national fabric has captured the imagination of the entire world.
The blue ribbon advisory panel for the exhibition included Matt Newsome of the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, NC; Dr. Hugh Cheape, formerly of the National Museums of Scotland, fashion designer and tartan author Jeffrey Banks, Brian Wilton from the Scottish Tartans Authority, George Mackenzie formerly from the National Archives of Scotland and Alison Diamond formerly from the Scottish Register of Tartans.
Celebrate Tartan Day with Music and Dance
A regular feature of all the Tartan Day on Ellis Island celebrations will be music and dance and the 2017 program will be no exception. Tartan Day on Ellis Island will play host to some of the finest Scottish entertainment in New York City, including the Rampant Lion Pipe Band, kilt maker Bonnie Greene, John the Kilted Juggler and a whole host of Scottish entertainers, and traditional musicians.
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About Tartan Day on Ellis Island
Tartan Day on Ellis Island is one of the principal Scottish heritage events in the United States. Playing host to literally thousands of domestic and international visitors each day, it is the largest Tartan Day celebration in the world. Ellis Island is a fitting place to observe Tartan Day. The island and its historic buildings represent America’s “Golden Door.”
From 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island. Although many Scots arrived during the colonial period of our history – helping to build the new nation – an additional half-million Scots came through Ellis Island. It has been estimated that 40% of Americans today can trace at least one ancestor’s entry into the United States through Ellis Island.
Describing the annual program, noted Scottish journalist and author Roddy Martine reported that of all the Tartan Day events held in the United States, the Ellis Island observance “stood out as a beacon of what USA Tartan Day is all about: the emigrant ancestors of ordinary Americans who over three centuries crossed the Atlantic Ocean to create the world’s greatest democracy.”
The Clan Currie Society produces Tartan Day on Ellis Island. The Society began their successful collaboration with the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 2002 in the coordination and sponsorship of their first Tartan Day celebration.
About National Tartan Day: 6 April 2017
President Woodrow Wilson said of the Scots, “Every line of strength in American history is a line colored with Scottish blood.” The contribution of the immigrant Scots upon North America is massive and these people have remained proud of their heritage.
However, unlike the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day, Scottish-Americans did not have a national day of identity and celebration. The concept of Tartan Day began in Nova Scotia in 1986 and soon was celebrated across Canada. Australia began marking Tartan Day in 1996.
In 1998, National Tartan Day was recognized in the US when the Senate passed a resolution recognizing April 6th as National Tartan Day. This was followed by a resolution, which was passed by the US House of Representatives in 2005.
The date commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted Scotland’s freedom over English territorial claims, and may have been an influence on the Declaration of Independence.