- Posted on:
April 2, 2014
- Categories: News
13th Annual Tartan Day on Ellis Island Delights Thousands
NY Tartan Week Opener Celebrated with New Exhibition, Music and Dance
The 2014 edition of Clan Currie’s popular program enjoyed impressive attendance records with over 20 thousand visitors from around the corner and around the world. In addition to the exhibition, a steady stream of visitors thrilled to the sights and sounds of the NY Celtic Dancers accompanied by the Rampant Lion Pipe Band as they stepped ashore on Ellis Island.
Inside the exhibition area, visitors enjoyed the delightful sounds of harp, fiddle, and guitar led by 2013 US National Scottish Harp Champion, Haley Hewitt, NY Brogue featuring Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion Calum Pasqua and the NYC Harp Orchestra.
The program also included an information table which provided a whole host of information about Tartan Day, the National Trust for Scotland and the Clan Currie Society as well as resources to look up family names and clan tartans.
Commenting on the weekend, James Kenneth Hare, Executive Director for the National Trust for Scotland Foundation – USA said, “It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm that the visitors to Ellis Island had for Scotland – I think hearing the pipers playing in the distance as the excursion boats drew near the dock set a very special mood for them. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who came through the “Scots in the West” exhibition from all over the world. Tartan Day on Ellis Island truly serves as an ambassador for Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland Foundation was honored to be a part of the Clan Currie Society’s 13 annual event.”
“The students had heard about NY Tartan Week back home and were delighted they would be able to experience part of the two-week festivities during their trip. We had the Rampant Lion Pipe Band pipe them off the island to the strains of “Bonnie Dundee.” It was magical.”
This was the 13th observance of Tartan Day on Ellis Island produced by the Clan Currie Society. Past programs have included, “The Life and Legacy of John Muir,” “Loyalty and Exile – The Jacobites and America,” “A Celebration of Tartan,” and “An Leabhar Mòr – The Great Book of Gaelic.”
Said Currie, “Many of these exhibits are available for loan from the Clan Currie Society for use in Tartan Day programs across the country. In fact, our exhibition entitled “Scotland’s Gifts” is slated to be on display as part of the upcoming Los Angeles “Brit Week” program in Santa Monica, CA.”
“Scots in the American West” was made possible by the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Naoma Tate and the family of Hal Tate, the Clan Currie Society, the National Trust for Scotland Foundation-USA, and the Smithsonian Institute.
About Tartan Day on Ellis Island
Tartan Day on Ellis Island is one of the principal Scottish heritage events in the United States. Playing host to literally thousands of domestic and international visitors each day, it is the largest Tartan Day celebration in the world. Ellis Island is a fitting place to observe Tartan Day. The island and its historic buildings represent America’s “Golden Door.”
From 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island. Although many Scots arrived during the colonial period of our history – helping to build the new nation – an additional half-million Scots came through Ellis Island. It has been estimated that 40% of Americans today can trace at least one ancestor’s entry into the United States through Ellis Island.
Describing the program, noted Scottish journalist and author Roddy Martine reported that of all the Tartan Day events held in the United States, the Ellis Island observance has, “stood out as a beacon of what USA Tartan Day is all about: the emigrant ancestors of ordinary Americans who over three centuries crossed the Atlantic Ocean to create the world’s greatest democracy.”
Tartan Day on Ellis Island is produced by the Clan Currie Society – one of the preeminent Scottish heritage organizations in the United States. The Clan Currie Society began its successful collaboration with the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 2002 in the coordination and sponsorship of their first Tartan Day celebration. That year, Clan Currie and the National Museums of Scotland joined forces to host the traveling exhibit, “Home and Away: Highland Departures and Returns.”
As part of the celebrations for Tartan Day 2011, the Clan Currie Society commissioned a specially designed Ellis Island Tartan© to mark the 10th Anniversary of Tartan Day on Ellis Island. Each color in the tartan reflects upon the American immigrant experience. The blue represents the ocean that had to be crossed to reach the American shores. The copper-green is the color of the Statue of Liberty. The red depicts the bricks of the Ellis Island buildings where 12 million Americans took their first steps towards freedom. The gold is the golden door that is the United States of America and the dawn of a new life in America.