| Tartan Day celebrates the existing and historical links between Scotland and Scottish descendants overseas. In the United States there are over 20 million people who claim Scots descent, and most take pride in the transatlantic connection. In North America Tartan Day is held on April 6, the anniversary of the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was created in 1320 whereas in Australia and New Zealand, it is held on July 1, the anniversary of the repeal of the Act of Proscription in 1782.
Tartan Day was the idea of Mrs Jean Watson. Throughout the late 1980s she petitioned throughout Canada for its recognition. Her efforts bore fruit when the Province of Nova Scotia did so in 1987. Other provinces began to recognise the day throughout the 1990s and as of 2004 all Canadian provinces save Newfoundland officially recognise it.
The idea also took root in the United States and since 1998, the date of April 6 has been officially recognised by the United States Senate as a celebration of the contribution made by generations of Scots-Americans to the foundation and prosperity of modern America. President Woodrow Wilson, the son of a Scots-Irish Presbyterian minister, said: "Every line in America's history is a line coloured by Scottish blood."
The date of April 6 is significant in that it commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, the first known formal Declaration of independence of its kind. Not only was the United States Declaration of Independence modeled on that inspirational document but also almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent and the Governors in 9 of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry.
Tartan Day is now firmly part of the North American calendar and a welcome signal that the Scots-Canadian/American relationship can only strengthen in the 21st century. The Tunes of Glory Parade in 2002 saw 10,000 pipers and drummers march through the streets of New York. They were the spectacular centrepiece of the event where thousands of Americans celebrated their links to Scotland. One of Scotland's national treasures, William Wallace's sword, left Scotland for the first time in 700 years and was flown to New York for their Tartan Week celebrations of 2005.
The Tartan Day resolution of the United States Senate
Senate Resolution 155, March 20th 1998
Whereas April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modelled on that inspirational document;
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 9 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;
Whereas this resolution recognizes the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans that have led to America's preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts;
Whereas this resolution commends the more than 200 organizations throughout the United States that honor Scottish heritage, tradition, and culture, representing the hundreds of thousands of Americans of Scottish descent, residing in every State, who already have made the observance of Tartan Day on April 6 a success;
Whereas these numerous individuals, clans, societies, clubs, and fraternal organizations do not let the great contributions of the Scottish people go unnoticed:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate designates April 6 of each year as "National Tartan Day."