Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Photo credit: Old Town Canoe
Some appropriate showing of the green.

Enjoy some green beer, or anything to celebrate the remembrance of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Also, all you Scots be sure to remember Tartan Day, Saturday, 6 April.  It's not as well publicized as St. Patrick's Day, but just as important in remembering and celebrating all Americans who are of Scottish descent.  It is named for the Declaration of Arbroath, signed in 1320, declaring Scotland's independence as a sovereign nation.  It is celebrated by the wearing of tartan.  Don't be embarrassed to wear your kilt to work, or a tartan tie.  If you have nothing else, wear a plaid shirt.  That's not really tartan, but in a pinch, is better than pin-stripes.

There are estimated to be around 7,000 officially recognized tartans.  There are a number of sites where you can look up your family tartan for your clan or sept.  Sept is a division of a clan.  For example, MacNeil is a clan.  All the rest, like Neal, Neil, Neille, O'Neal, O'Neil, McNeal, MacNeal, and so on, are all septs of the Clan MacNeil.  Once you identify your clan, you can obtain a family or clan tartan.  If you're not prepared to invest in a kilt, there are many products produced in a family's tartan from ties, shawls, skirts, sashes, and so on.  So show pride in your family and Scottish heritage.  Wear your tartan year-round, but especially on Tartan Day.

Tartan of Clan MacNeil
Just a note on tartans.  If you look up your tartan, Scot or Irish, you will generally find two.  There will be the ancient tartan, which generally appears more muted in color because wool was originally died with barks, herbs, berries, etc.  Once modern dies were developed, most clans had another more brilliant tartan officially recognized.  Both are proper.  It just depends on whether you prefer historical accuracy, or a more modern and colorful edition of the same basic design.

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