Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan, Sunday, May 19

Celebrate Our Spiritual Heritage as Presbyterians as We Participate in

Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan on Sunday, May 19

On May 19 we celebrate our Scottish Presbyterian heritage with the presentation of the clan tartans of some of our members.

The Church of Scotland has unveiled its own distinct tartan to celebrate its enduring role as the country’s national Kirk.

Each of the five new colors holds deep meaning for the Presbyterian denomination, which was established in 1560.

Rev Iain Cunningham, convener of the World Mission Council which commissioned the tartan on behalf of the wider Church, said it was an “eye catching and well balanced” design.


Church of Scotland Tartan

Cunningham said that the idea was to make use of colors associated with the liturgical calendar, Christian tradition and links with the nation of Scotland. Purple symbolizes royalty, the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church, divinity, the thistle and heather. Red represents the blood of Christ, Christian martyrs, the flames of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, the Burning Bush from which God spoke to Moses and the Scottish Lion Rampant. Blue represents Mary, the mother of Christ, the sky, St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, and the Kirk itself. Green is for the earth, growth, glens, moors and mountains. White symbolizes brightness, the purity of Christ, the cross in the official emblem of the Church of Scotland and the Saltire, the country’s national flag.

In 1746, British law forbade the wearing of tartans in an effort to subdue rebellious Scotland. Legend has it that some defiant Scots carried small pieces of their family or local plaid as secret identification. They sometimes brought the swatches to church for a surreptitious blessing by the minister.

If you have no tartan of your own, on May 19 we will provide a small piece of the new Church of Scotland tartan to pin to your clothing. We will bless you and declare you an Honorary Scot for the day!