Monday, April 6, 2015

It's National Tartan Day!

Today, April 6th is National Tartan Day, a day for Scottish Americans to celebrate their history and contributions to the USA. Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was modeled after the Declaration of Arbroath?  The Declaration of Arbroath, the declaration of Scottish independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 after Scottish barons and earls sent a letter to Pope John XXII to assert Scotland's status as an independent state.  According to Scotland's National Records, the letter, or declaration, also asked the pontiff to recognize Robert the Bruce as the country's lawful king.

In 1998 the US Senate passed a resolution declaring today National Tartan Day, "whereas this resolution honors the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the governors in nine of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry, Scottish Americans successfully helped shape this country in its formative years and guide this nation through its most troubled times."

From my personal transferware collection, I thought I'd share a few images of my Tartan transferware plates and favorite interiors decked out in Tartan or plaid.  The plate in the two photos below is entitled "Caledonian": the Latin name given by the Romans to land in Scotland.  Today the name is mostly used as an historical description of Northern Britain or a poetic or romantic name for Scotland.  It was made circa 1836-42 by Ridgway, Morley, Wear & Co.  The green is enameled over the brown transfer printed plaid pattern.  I have them in purple as well and they're some of my favorite pieces as they have a little sentimental meaning to me as well because I've got both Scottish and English heritage.  

   This one is on the office mantle (notice the plaid wallpaper and puppy painting with the bagpipes and Tartan shawl, and a few books from my collection of Clan history books).

The same patterned plate, along with some other transferware pieces, is in the family room.  

Each Scottish Clan has their own Tartan.

My family (Robinson) are part of the Gunn Clann

Shawn also has Scottish heritage and his family (Clements) are part of the Lamont Clann, so our kiddos have Scottish on both sides.

Tartan is actually a pattern of interlocking stripes running both horizontal and vertical and is mistakenly known as plaid.   Plaid, according to the Scottish Tartans Museum,  comes from the Gaelic word for blanket and is specifically used in the context of Highland dress to refer to a long length of material.  Originally the kilt was known as the belted plaid which consisted of basically a large blanket that was gathered and belted at the waist.  Plaids were most often made from a tartan cloth, so the confusion between the two is understandable.  In fact, I'm sometimes still a little confused.  haha

Tartan designs originally had no symbolic meaning and cloths made of the patterns can be dated to about 3000 BC.    Where there was woven cloth, Tartan patterns were created and yet it is only Scotland that cultural significance is associated with them.  Tartan became so extremely popular in Scottish Highland culture that by the 17th century it was characteristic of Highland dress.  It was so identifiable with the Highland Gael that in 1746 the British government forbade the wearing of Tartan in the Highlands; an attempt to suppress the rebellious Scottish culture.

Have a piece of cake,

pull up a seat 

and enjoy all of these wonderful Tartan and Plaid interior images from my Pinterest board Insanely Mad About Plaid.

Am I driving you plaid yet?

Happy National Tartan Day!

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