There are many ways to celebrate National Tartan Day on April 6, even if you aren’t Scottish! One of the most unique places to honor National Tartan Day, or get ready for it, is in the center of Litchfield, Connecticut, at a shop called BraeVal that specializes in custom-designed tartans. This exclusive shop is owned by Gregor McCluskey, whose great uncle, Big Jock McCluskey, brought the Rob Roy MacGregor Tartan to America in the 1800s.
Today, we know this tartan pattern as “Buffalo Plaid” – which is authentically and ancestrally reproduced by BraeVal on the cuffs and collar of every custom tartan shirt sold here. What makes BraeVal’s shirts different is that they are custom tartan designs made from technically advanced proprietary, all-natural Tierra fabric that is ring spun out of merino wool and long-staple cotton.
The shop’s name is of Scottish origin too. BraeVal is a Scottish word for the Upland River Valleys that exist between the mountains and the rugged brae of the Scottish Highlands, where streams and rivers tumble to the loch and sea. At this shop, Tartan Day is a year-round celebration! That said, Gregor McCluskey, founder of BraeVal, has a few great suggestions on ways to celebrate National Tartan Day.
His first suggestion is to enjoy trying traditional Scottish food like haggis, Scottish pie, smoked salmon, tatties (mashed potatoes), herring, shortbread, and a wee dram of whisky! To add to the conviviality of the meal, play your favorite Scottish or Celtic tunes, they add so much atmosphere and fun.
To add to your celebration, watch your favorite Scottish movie. An oldie but goodie is Whisky Galore, a comedy where Scottish islanders try to plunder 50,000 cases of whisky from a stranded ship. According to The Scottish Statesman, two of the top movies about Scotland include The Angel’s Share, set in Glasgow, which tells the tale of a father that narrowly avoids jail and visits a whisky distillery to find inspiration, and the classic, Highlander which follows the adventures of the immortal warrior of Clan MacLeod.
Another suggestion is to have a poetry reading – reciting Robert Burns of course! Or, read portions of the Declaration of Arbroath to see why the founders of our country were inspired. “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 honors, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
About National Tartan Day
Did you know that National Tartan Day is celebrated in the United States on April 6 in honor of Scottish heritage? This date is a special commemoration of the Declaration of Arbroath, which was a letter written by the nobles of Scotland to the Pope in 1320. The letter asked the Pope to recognize Scotland as an independent kingdom from England that was attempting to subjugate it and recognize Robert Bruce, as the country’s legitimate king. What many people don’t know is that the Declaration of Arbroath was the foundation for the Declaration of Independence when America declared itself free of British rule. Today, over 11 million Americans claim Scottish and Scottish-Irish roots, making them the eighth-largest ethnic group in the United States.
BraeVal is a lifestyle brand of clothing that has endured for generations. It is an American design born of comfort that offers time-tested classics in the Scottish tradition.