In November 2001 we had a marvelous St Andrew's Day Kirking followed with great food, Scottish dancing and fellowship. You can view some of it with the photos below.
History of Kirking O'the Tartans
A Kirk is a Scottish word for Church. Tartan,
is the traditional garb of a Highland Scot. The Kirkin' O' The
Tartan is thus a traditional blessing of the tartan by the Clergy. Following the failure of the Jacobite
Rebellion of 1745, the tartan was forbidden to be worn. Prince Charles Edward Stuart had escaped over the
water to France, but this was small physical comfort to the thousands of Highlanders whose way of life had
been irrevocably altered. The Clan System, with its representative tartans, was demolished as troops loyal
to the Duke of Cumberland and the House of Hanover ravaged the Scottish Highlands, searching out
Thus the Kirkin' O' The Tartan went into
hiding, away from official eyes. Each Highlander secretly touched
a bit of his tartan hidden among his clothing at the appropriate moment in the worship service. In much
the same way, the Upper Jacobite Class in Scotland obediently toasted the King at public banquets, and
with a deft flick of the wrist, the toast became not for George II or III but for the King "over the water",
Charles Edward Stuart, as the hand passed over the top of the glass.
These overt acts of defiance against officialdom
died with the coming of the 18th century Industrial
Revolution and the Highland Clearances. Thousands of Highland Crofters were forced into
becoming pioneers in the new world as their former aristocratic lords drove them off their land,
so that the much more profitable business of raising sheep could be carried on. The Highlander
became a victim of the Industrial Revolution.
During WWII, there was concern that Americans
were not signing up to fight on behalf of Britain.
Rev. Peter Marshall, then Chaplain of the USA Senate, attempted to instill pride in their homeland among
Scots living in the USA. The Kirkin' o' the Tartan ceremony was created by Rev. Marshall and held in the
Presbyterian churches across the USA.
Later The Kirkin' of the Tartan ceremony
began to be held in churches in other denominations, but did not
gain wide popularity until the 70's. The Kirkin' o' the Tartan is not limited to Presbyterian Churches, but is
often found in other Protestant services as well as Roman Catholic services.
This site was designed courtesy of Crystal Cloud Graphics using digital camera images of the historic St. Andrew's Church in Ben Lomond, California and modified using XARA. This site is navigable for the seeing impaired. Contact web mistress Kythera Ann with comments or questions.
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