National Tartan Day! April 6 – A Southern Girl’s View

Today, I proudly salute my Scottish ancestors who came to this country in the early 1700s – Clan MacNeil of Barra. 

Clan motto is “conquer or die” 

MacNeil remains the main surname on [the isle of] Barra on the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides with a population of just 1,000. (

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 National Tartan Day honors and celebrates Scottish culture and the role it has played in the development of the United States. Canada has been celebrating Tartan Day since 1993 and the U.S. Senate officially recognized it in 1998.There are three groups of people that came from Scotland to America – the Lowland Scotts, the Highland Scotts, and the Scotch-Irish. Each of these groups has influenced American culture. They’ve passed on Scottish last names, introduced the sport of golf, shared the sounds of the bagpipes, and made tartan a fashion staple!

Tartan is a crisscrossed pattern of horizontal and vertical bands woven into cloth. It is made by weaving colored threads at right angles to each other. The Dress Act of 1746 attempted to ban tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture in order to bring people under tighter government control. The law was repealed in 1782 and tartan became symbolic as the national dress of Scotland.  (