On Sunday, November 1st, First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort will celebrate its fourth annual Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans, a Presbyterian tradition in which church members present their families’ Scottish tartans to be blessed.
This year thirty families will participate in the service after which they will parade around the historic Beaufort church area with their Clan Tartans flying to the tune and beat of Scottish bagpipers and drummer. Commencement will begin at 11 am at First Presbyterian Church followed by a parade of tartans and families. The public is welcome and everyone is invited to join the parade. Music will be provided by members of the Charleston Police Pipes and Drums.
“Kirk” is a Scottish word for Church and a Tartan is the traditional pattern of unevenly spaced stripes crossing at right angles woven into a woolen fabric that distinguishes the various Scottish Clans. Thus, the Kirkin' o' the Tartans is the traditional blessing of the tartans by the Clergy.
The Kirkin’ o' the Tartans was revived during WWII by Reverend Peter Marshall, then the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. To encourage Scottish Americans to sign up to fight on behalf of Great Britain, Peter Marshall recreated the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans ceremony in 1943 to try to instill pride among Scottish Americans in their Scottish homeland. The Kirkin' o' the Tartans ceremony was then held in Presbyterian churches across the USA and many churches continue to hold this annual ceremony today.