The Kirking O' the Tartans

Sunday, November 17, 2019

10:30 am

On the Sunday of the Kirking of the Tartans at Trinity Episcopal Church, bagpipes and drums play, and Scottish clan banners are blessed during the service.  The Order of Service is taken from the Prayer Book used in Scotland today.  After the service, special Scottish refreshments will be served.   The Haggis will be piped in.  Don't know what Haggis is?  See below page.

The Kirking of the Tartans is an old Scottish Highland custom literally meaning “Churching” of the Tartans. The tartan is a fabric woven according to a certain thread-count design.  The clear, distinctive cross-line patterns represent specific clans (families), regions, and regiments.  They are popularly known as Scottish plaids.

After the defeat of the Scots by the English in 1746 at the battle of Culloden Moor, the wearing of the Tartan and the keeping of other Highland customs, including the playing of the bagpipes, was banned by the English conquerors.  The English knew that the Scots felt very deeply about the covenantal relationship between God and the families of believers.  Therefore, by banning the Tartan with its family symbolism, the English felt that the Scottish spirit of rebellion would be broken.

The wearing of the Tartan went underground and, subsequently, the Kirking of the Tartan became important to the Scots in clinging to their family and cultural traditions. On one Sunday each year, the people went to church wearing a concealed bit of the forbidden Tartan.  At a certain point in the service, the Tartans were touched secretly while the priest pronounced a blessing on all Scots who carried them.  Soon it became apparent to the English that their law only sparked more interest in the Tartans and all that they represented.  In 1782 the English repealed their interdict.


  Haggis (a savoury pudding concoction) will be piped in and special Scottish refreshments will be   
  served.  Haggis was hailed as the national dish of Scotland after a poem by Robert Burns in 1787.

  ADDRESS TO HAGGIS                                                          Interpretation:                          

   Fair fa’ your honest sonsie face,                                            Fa' = Fall,
                                                                                                 Sonsie = Jolly/cheerful
  Great chieftain o’ the pudding race!

  Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,                                           aboon = above

  Painch, trip or thairm:                                                             painch = paunch/stomach
                                                                                                  thairm = intestine
  Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace                                                 wordy = worthy

  As lang’s my arm