Thousands of people in North America celebrate their Scottish heritage and love for Scottish culture during an annual week-long celebration known as Tartan Week that includes the observation of Tartan Day on April 6.
Tartan Week is held in the first week of April to mark the anniversary of Scotland’s Declaration of Independence over 700 years ago. While Tartan Week festivities are a little different this year there are still ways to safely celebrate!
Chicago Scots President Gus Noble will receive the Scottish Coalition USA’s National Tartan Day Award in recognition of the work he and Chicago Scots have done to grow the Scottish American Diaspora and our service during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This prestigious award is the highest honor given for outstanding leadership in the Scottish-American community.
In April, we are celebrating William Wallace as part of our Heroes for Heroes fundraiser to benefit Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care. Little is known about his early life but after the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 Wallace served as Guardian of Scotland until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. The story of William Wallace has been written about by many including Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Jane Porter and, more recently he has been played by Mel Gibson in the 1996 Best Picture film Braveheart. William Wallace merchandise, including t-shirts, can be purchased in April from our online store.
A Brief History of Tartan
Did you know that tartan was once illegal? Watch Sean O’Neill’s brilliant whiteboard animation, narrated by Gus Noble, to learn more about the history of tartan. This animation was created in honor of our 175th anniversary.
There are over 37 states in the United States that have their own State Tartan, including the neighboring states of Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. There is an American National Tartan and all branches of the US Armed Services have their own tartan.
The Illinois tartan is officially called the “Illinois St. Andrews Society” tartan and was designed by Frances Gillan in 1990 to celebrate the society’s 150th anniversary in 1995. A field of blue and white, representing the flag of Scotland as well as the white background of the Illinois state flag was decided upon, with touch of red as a nod to the red, white and blue of the United States flag.
In 2012 the Illinois St. Andrews Society tartan was designated the official tartan of the State of Illinois following a unanimous Senate vote and signing of HB 4492 by Governor Pat Quinn.
If you’ve always wanted a kilt but don’t have a family tartan of your own look no further than the Illinois tartan. The Illinois tartan belongs to all who live in or are from Illinois.
The significance of the colors and stripes of the Illinois tartan is as follows:
- Red, White & Blue – Represents the United States flag
- White, Blue & Red – Represents the Illinois State flag
- Blue & White – Represents the St. Andrew’s flag (the national flag of Scotland)
- Navy Blue – Represents Lake Michigan