Indeed, many of us can celebrate. The Scots have always had a major presence in North America. Almost half of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, as were at least five presidents. Millions of Americans can claim Scottish ancestry. Canada's Scottish heritage is probably even higher than that of the U.S. when measured as a percentage of the population.
The focal point of New York Tartan Week is the Scottish Village in the Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station. The Scottish Village provides a genealogy center for ancestral romantics eager to find their clans, as well as kilts and tweeds for those who wish to dress like their ancestors. The village also attempts to fit in every staple of the tourist diet.You'll find haggis here, as well as other foods unique to Scotland. One visiting Scotsman sadly reported that he could not find chippies or macaroni pies, however.
The culmination of all this Scottishness is the Tartan Day Parade, which takes place on April 14. Pipers, drummers, pipe bands, organizations, and proud Westies and Scotties are encouraged to participate in Tartan Week's main event: New York's National Tartan Day Parade - the largest Scottish celebration in Manhattan and one of the largest Scottish parades in the world.
The New York City National Tartan Day Parade features full pipe bands as well as individual pipers and drummers from around the world. Last year's participants hailed from Scotland, Australia, Canada, England, France, Switzerland, Pakistan, and the U.S, with thousands of spectators enjoying the spectacle in Rockefeller Center.
At noon Glasgow's Albannach will be warming up the crowds with their music at St. Andrews Pub (120 E. 44th). At 1:00 pm they will move to the 6th Avenue reviewing stand (55th Street). Unlike any "pipe and drum" band, this award-winning group features only one piper but five drummers. You can read more about this group and even listen to a bit of their music on their web site at http://www.albannachonline.com.
You can learn more about Tartan Week at http://www.tartanweek.com.
Now, where did I put that kilt?