Reception following the Annual Kirkin’ of the Tartans at the Washington National Cathedral—Sunday, 27 April, 2014.
In addition to the Tartan Day Festival in Old Town, Alexandria, in April of each year NCTDC cosponsors, along with the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC, a reception on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral, immediately following the Annual Kirkin’ of the Tartans service held inside the Cathedral itself. (The Kirkin’ ceremony, now commonplace throughout the USA and Canada, began in Washington, DC and is inextricably linked to the DC St. Andrew’s Society, whose then Chaplain, Dr. Peter Marshall, conceived it as a fundraiser for the British war effort in early 1941—during the dark days after the fall of France but before America entered World War II, when Britain stood alone against the Nazis and Imperial Japan. The service now raises funds to support scholarships awarded by the Society annually for American graduate students to study in Scotland and their Scottish counterparts to study in the USA.) The Washington St. Andrew’s Society has conducted the Kirkin’ Service at the National Cathedral, uninterrupted, since 1952 when it was moved there from other churches in the DC area.
The service is open to the public, at no charge, and invariably fills the Cathedral with worshippers. The massed Pipes, Drums, & Color Guard lead the Tartan Bearers & Society Members into the Cathedral Nave at 4:00 PM for the start of the service. Upon conclusion, the entire massed Pipes & Drums march to the High Altar with Society Members for the “Blessing of the Tartans”, Remembrance of Departed Comrades, and Benediction. Reserved seating in the Cathedral is set aside for V.I.P. guests, including members of the congressional Friends of Scotland and representatives of the Scottish Affairs Office and others from the British Embassy. Tickets in the reserved section, at no charge, are available through the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC.
After the Kirkin’ ceremony concludes, the National Capital Tartan Day Committee (NCTDC), in partnership with the DC St. Andrew’s Society, hosts an invitation-only cocktail reception at the Cathedral School for Girls, on the grounds of the Cathedral, beginning at 5:30 PM. There is a light buffet served to accompany Scottish entertainment (pipes, drums and Highland dancers), as well as remarks by V.I.P.s in attendance—often one of the Co-chairs of the congressional Scottish Caucus and a representative of the Scottish Affairs Office from the Embassy. The Reception is by invitation only and a Guest List is maintained at the door. To be added to the Guest List, please RSVP to NCTDC no later than 23 April. Small donations ($25.00/ person) are requested in advance from Reception attendees and should accompany requests to be added to the Guest List.