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Celebrating a Week of Scotland in NYC

31 Mar 10

This year is the 12th annual Tartan Week in New York City, celebrating all things Scottish - just the thing for CAs a long way from home, such as Michelle Muir

The Tartan Day Parade on 10 April is the centrepiece of the celebrations, with 2,000 awe inspiring and deafening pipers and drummers marching up 6th Avenue. The parade starts around 44th street and ends in Central Park. This year Alex Fergusson, presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, is the 2010 Grand Marshall leading the parade. Past Grand Marshalls have included Sir Sean Connery and Alan Cumming OBE.

The Parade and the week’s activities are the results of the work of the National Tartan Day New York Committee, which was created in 2002 by three New York-based Scottish organisations: Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York, 1756, New York Caledonian Club, 1856, and American Scottish Foundation, 1956.

But what is Tartan Day? The United States Senate declaration proclaims 6 April "National Tartan Day", indicating that the day has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those of Scottish descent because of the Declaration of Arbroath. The Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed on 6 April, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modelled on that document. I have been living in America for 14 years but somehow this important fact escaped my attention.

During the week leading up to the parade there are various events around the city, including Dressed to Kilt - a celebrity catwalk for charity produced by Sir Sean Connery, Whisky Live, the Post-Parade Party featuring Scottish-inspired bands like Enter the Haggis, a 5k run, the Caledonian Club ceilidh, the St Andrew's Society cocktail reception and many more events.

I haven't been to the parade in some time but for some reason I am feeling inspired to go this year.

Maybe I'll pop into Highlands, a Glasgow-inspired restaurant and bar in Greenwich Village, for a bowl of Cullen skink and some haggis to round out the full NYC Scottish experience.

Scotland is never very far away when you are in NYC which is just the ticket sometimes for all of us homesick CAs...

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