KIRKIN’ O’ THE TARTAN

The Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan ceremony can be a great social occasion where people of Scots origin can get together to worship God. Some claim that this service dates back to the times of the trouble between the Scots and the English, in the mid to late 18th century, when the wearing of tartan was forbidden following the Battle of Culloden. Apparently, at that time in history any person found wearing tartan could be shot on sight, or exiled to the colonies. But, according to The Legend, the Highlanders devised a plan whereby they hid a small piece of tartan in their clothing.

At a special pre-arranged moment during a church service, they would hold their little bits of tartan cloth and pray a blessing upon it. Others accept that the practice of the Kirkin” O’ the Tartan was a creation of the Rev. Peter Marshall, a Presbyterian minister, who attempted to instill pride in their homeland among Scots living in the USA as a war bond scheme, when he was the Chaplain of the US Senate in the mid 1940’s.

In later years, the Kirkin’ of the Tartan ceremony began to be held in churches in Canada, but did not gain wide popularity until the first International Gathering of the Clans in Nova Scotia in 1979. Where and how it began matters not; we gather at the Kirkin’ O’ Tartan ceremony, and display our tartans, to receive the blessing of all mighty God, in memory of our ancestors, and those hardy Scots who crossed the ocean between the old world and the new to build a better life for them and us.

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