NYC’s Tartan Day Parade

New York City’s Tartan Day Parade doesn’t have the long history of many of the city’s parades, but it has interesting origins. According to the New York City Tartan Week organizers,

In 1998 the U.S. Senate declared April 6 to be National Tartan Day to recognize the contributions made by Scottish-Americans to the United States. In 1999, two pipe bands and a small but enthusiastic group of Scottish Americans marched from the British Consulate to the UN—our first Parade! Since then, we have grown to include hundreds of pipers, thousands of marchers and many more thousands cheering from the sidelines.

The National Tartan Day New York Committee was formed … in 2002 to organize the Parade and co-ordinate all the associated activities which surround the Parade. There are now so many it has become Tartan Week, with a definition of “week” as anything, so far, from 7-21 days.

Now that we know why they’re marching, let’s watch the parade! As you’ll see, there are plenty of tartans, bagpipes, and drums – although not everyone is wearing plaid. One of the fun things about this parade is that some pipe and drum corps will allow unaffiliated bagpipers to march with them, as long as they can play the 4 songs required for the parade: Scotland the Brave, Rowan tree, Blue Bells of Scotland, and Bonnie Prince Charlie. The sun was shining brightly, so please forgive the lighting in some of these shots.

Now for one of my favorite parts of the parade: the Scottie and Westie dogs!

As we were leaving, I spied this creature peeking out above the crowd – could it possibly be Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster?

16 thoughts on “NYC’s Tartan Day Parade

  1. I’m astonished. A northern hemispherean apologising for sunshine. Never! And can I order one of those 21-day weeks please. Photographically, my eyes were drawn to feet, which all seemed beautifully polished and dancing. NY certainly knows how to honour its ethnic groups.

    1. I know! A 21-day week would solve most of my problems! New York really does have pride in its diversity and embraces it’s longstanding role as a key port for immigration. I live in the borough of Queens, and I can hear many languages riding the subway and bus in my way to work each day.

  2. Love those niche parades! And I particularly enjoy when an event that’s ostensibly to celebrate one group includes members of a whole bunch. Inclusive celebration of diversity sounds like a terrible talking point…but actually just makes for a good party.

  3. Candelo Blooms

    Love the Westies- so cute, especially the one in the top hat! I tried learning the bagpipes once, but only got as far as the chanter!

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