As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
On April 6, 1320, Bernard of Kilwinning wrote a letter to the Pope, proclaiming Scotland as an independent, sovereign state. Bernard was then the head of Arbroath Abbey, a monastery along the coast of the North Sea, and the document, written in Latin and sealed by eight earls and about forty barons, became known as the Declaration of Arbroath.
More than six hundred and fifty years later, a group of New Yorkers chose the date of Bernard’s missive to celebrate their Scottish heritage. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and by 1998 the U.S. Senate recognized Scottish-Americans’ contributions to the nation by declaring April 6 as National Tartan Day.
The Scots-centric festivities have grown and become a yearly event, dubbed Tartan Week, which honors all things related to the land once known as Caledonia. The highlight of the week is the loud and colorful Tartan Day Parade.
In the first New York Tartan Day Parade, a small, loosely organized group marched across the Upper East Side, from the British Consulate to the United Nations, while clad in kilts and playing bagpipes.
Today the 17th annual New York Tartan Day Parade was held on Sixth Avenue. It featured thousands of bagpipers, marchers, dancers, dogs and representatives of organizations from all over the world who strode up the street, delighting all the Scots and “temporary, honorary Scots” who lined the route in Midtown Manhattan.
No Sixth Avenue bus today
Marchers taking a break
Ready to march
Marching and waving
Her first time marching
Temporary, honorary Scot
Carrying a staff
Waving the flag
Pipers chatting before the parade
Tartan Day Parade bus
Marcher meets officer
The Westie and Scottie Pack
Girls leading the pipers
Marching and piping
The Grand Marshal isn’t as interesting as his phone
Playing at 46th Street
West Point Cadet Corps
Pipers and drummers
Best seat in town
Greenwich Pipe Band
Clan Chattan Confederation, Clan McBean, Clan Shaw
Scotland’s most famous citizen
Clan Munro Association, Thailand
If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap
American Scottish Foundation
NYC Police Band
University of Strathcylde
Tri-County Pipe Band
Dog in a kilt
Atlantic Watch Pipes & Drums
Group wearing thistle t-shirts
Sauntering on the sidewalk after the parade
The National Archives of Scotland: The Declaration of Arbroath
Historic Environment Scotland: Arbroath Abbey
Scotland’s National Tourist Board: Arbroath Abbey
Undiscovered Scotland Bernard of Kilwining
New York Tartan Day Parade
NYC Tartan Week
St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York
New York Caledonian Club