Tartan Day 2020



MARCH 31 – APRIL 2, 2020

The National Capital Tartan Day Committee, Inc; (“NCTDC”) is a 501(c)(3)-certified charitable nonprofit organization, incorporated in Washington, DC in 2004. NCTDC’s sole mission is to promote the National Tartan Day holiday on or about 6 April each year, as recognized by Standing Resolutions of both houses of the U.S. Congress. To advance its mission, each year NCTDC sponsors a Symposium that addresses various subjects of interest to the Scottish-American Diaspora. Together with the bipartisan Friends of Scotland Caucus in the Congress, NCTDC also sponsors a Reception each year at the U.S. Capitol to recognize and honor the many contributions of Scots, and Scottish-Americans, to the foundation and subsequent development of the United States.

The 2020 Tartan Day Symposium will extend over three days—from Tuesday, March 31 through Thursday, April 2 2020. All sessions for the 2020 Symposium require advance reservations and the purchase of tickets, either by check, made out to “NCTDC,” or online, via PayPal, here. An RSVP List will be maintained at the door for each session of the Annual Symposium.


  • Ticket price for all Tuesday’s events–includes opening Tartan panel with Sir Malcolm MacGregor and others, welcoming speeches (including Joni Smith), evening buffet & reception (open bar plus scotch-tasting), and evening speech by Donald Maclaren–$50.
  • Ticket Price for  Wednesday’s events – panel on Scottish DNA update, plus Former First Minister Henry McLeish’s speech–$20.
  • Ticket price for Thursday’s events –  two panels (including the one on Scots Heraldry with Lyon Morrow, Dunrossil, Durie and others), the one on how Tartan Day is celebrated elsewhere in the USA,  and the opening speech by Lyon–$30.
  • Special ” package discount” for symposium–special reduced Master Ticket Price for all three days of panels and speeches–$85 total (a $15 savings over a la carte).
  • Wednesday Capitol Hill Reception (includes buffet, open bar, scotch-tasting, Scottish entertainment, speeches and awards–Suggested Donation–$35.


Symposium Tickets Here

The program for the 2020 Symposium is listed below.


The Wednesday afternoon Capitol Hill Reception on 1 April is “by invitation only” and there is no charge to attend. But to be added to the Guest List, all must register through the NCTDC Website (www.dctartanday.org ). No fee can be charged to attend any event on the U.S. Capitol grounds; however, NCTDC does incur costs to put on the Capitol Hill Reception as well as the Symposium. Accordingly, persons wishing to attend the Capitol Hill Reception are asked to make a voluntary donation to support the work of NCTDC. (Suggested amount: $35.00.) This can be done by check, made out to “NCTDC”, or online, via PayPal, through our Website. All donations to NCTDC are tax-deductible.


Capitol Hill Reception Registration Here


2020 TARTAN DAY SYMPOSIUM (April 1 – 2, 2020)

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Venue: James Monroe House (The Arts Club of Washington), Downtown Washington, DC


3:30PM – Welcoming Remarks

· John King Bellassai, JD, Vice President, National Capital Tartan Day Committee, Inc. (Host) – Welcome and Overview of the Week’s Program

· Joni Smith, Scottish Government Counselor for North America, British Embassy, Washington, DC – Greetings from Scotland


4:00PM – Opening Panel: The Role of Tartan In Forging A Scottish National Identity

· Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, Bt., 24th Chief of Clan Gregor

· Clare Campbell, Tartan Weaver and Proprietor, The Prickly Thistle & Board Member, Scottish Tartans Authority

· Peter MacDonald, Noted Tartan Scholar and Weaver & Board Member, Scottish Tartans Authority – Advisor to the Scottish Registry of Scotlands

· Siobhan MacKenzie, Scottish dress designer who incorporate tartan motifs in her fashions, named Young Scottish Designer of the Year for 2016.


6:00PM – Special Presentation by Mr. Iain McMenemy on the work of the newly formed Bannockburn House Trust

– working to restore the historic Bannockburn House, which hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie and was later owned by the famous Wilsons’ of Bannockburn,

Scotland’s foremost family of tartan merchants


7:00 – 9:30PM – Buffet & Cocktail Reception – Open Bar – Scotch Tasting


7:30PM – Formal Remarks by Donald Maclaren, Chief of Clan MacLaren &

newly appointed Convenor, Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs (SCSC)


Thursday, 2 April 2020

Venue: Oracle Townhouse, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC


1:00PM – Opening Panel: Behind the Tartan:

Update on the Work of the 300+ Scottish Surname Genetic Testing Projects Sponsored by Family Tree DNA, Inc. of Houston, TX

· Jim Brewster, Events Manager, FTDNA, Houston, TX

· Keith MacGregor, Project Administrator, MacGregor Surname Project

· Bob MacLaren, Project Administrator, Clan MacLaren Surname Project

· TBD, Project Administrator, Scottish Family surname project

· Discussant: Dr. Bruce Durie, Noted Scottish Genealogist


3:00PM – Speech by the Rt. Hon. Henry McLeish, Former First Minister of Scotland –

Turbulent Political Times: The EU, Britain and Scotland After Brexit

· Mr. McLeish will be introduced by Joni Smith, Scottish Gov’t Counsellor for North America, British Embassy, Washington, DC


Thursday, 2 April 2020

Venue: James Monroe House (The Arts Club of Washington), Downtown Washington, DC


3:00PM – Prepared Remarks by the Rt. Hon. Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms

3:30PM – Opening Panel: Overview of Scots Heraldry for A Scottish-American Audience – All You Need to Know to Apply for Scottish Arms from Lyon Court

· Lyon Morrow (Moderator)

· Andrew Morrison, Viscount Dunrossil, President, Society of Scottish Armigers

· Donald Draper Campbell, U.S. Board Member, The Heraldry Society of Scotland

· Dr. Bruce Durie, Noted Scottish Genealogist & Heraldist and Sennachie, Council of Scottish Clans & Associations (COSCA)

· Discussants: Scott MacMillan, (a former Herald of the Republic of Ireland and Baron Rathdown), and John Cochran (COSCA Board Member & Sennachie of Clan Cochran, and a recent armiger)


6:00PM – Closing Panel: Keeping It Real – Celebrating Tartan Day All Around the USA

· James Morrison, Secretary, NCTDC (Moderator)

· Andrew Morrison, Viscount Dunrossil – Celebrating Tartan Day at the Alamo in San Antonio, TX

· Bob Currie, Commander, Clan Currie and Board Member, Ellis Island Foundation – Celebrating Tartan Day on Ellis Island, in New York Harbor

· Donovan Murray, President, Celtic Force Productions and Co-Producer, Tartan Day South – Celebrating Tartan Day in the Carolinas


CAPITOL HILL RECEPTION – Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Venue: Rayburn House Office Bldg. (The Gold Room), Capitol Hill, Washington, DC


5:00PM – Annual Tartan Day Reception, Hosted Jointly by The Friends of Scotland Caucus,

U.S. House of Representatives, and the Nat’l Capital Tartan Day Committee (NCTDC)

· Full buffet and open bar

· Scotch-tasting

· Remarks by Co-chairs and Members of the Friends of Scotland Caucus, by visiting guests and dignitaries, and by officers of the local area Scottish-American organizations

· Possible remarks by Donald Trump, President of the United States and himself a Scottish-American. (The President is invited and may attend. His mother, Mary MacLeod, was born on Lewis and emigrated to America as a young woman.)

· Presentation of special awards

– Founders’ Awards to former Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and current Congressman John Duncan (R-TN), who will be retiring from Congress this year (Together they founded the Friends of Scotland Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004.)

– Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Coalition, USA to Alan Bain, Chairman-Emeritus of the American-Scottish Foundation (Mr. Bain will be stepping back this year from active involvement.)

· Scottish entertainment

– Pipers

– Dancers

– Fiddlers

– Scottish vocalist



The St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC annually sponsors a national Kirkin’ of the Tartans and has done so each year since 1941 .In recent years, NCTDC has co-sponsored this event along with the DC St. Andrew’s Society. The National Kirkin’ of the Tartans was originally conceived by the Rev. Dr. Peter Marshal, Chaplain of the St. Andrew’s Society, and of the U.S. Senate, and a native Scot, as a fund-raiser for the British war effort in the dark days of 1941, after the fall of France but before Pearl Harbor, when Britain stood alone against the Axis Powers in Europe and the Pacific. The Kirkin’ was moved to the Washington National Cathedral in 1954 and has been held there each year since then.

The Kirkin’ ceremony is held in conjunction with a traditional Episcopalian Evensong Service. (The Washington National Cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington.) This year the Rev. Dr. Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms and an officer of the Queen’s Household for Scotland, will preach the Kirkin’ service. (Lyon Morrow is also an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church of Scotland.)

Attendance is open to all, at no charge. No tickets or advance reservations are required. The wearing of the tartan is encouraged by all, but not required. For more details, visit the Society’s Website at www.SaintAndrewSociety.org.

Sunday,  April 2020

Venue: The Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC


4:00PM – National Kirkin’ of the Tartans, Sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC

· The Rev. Dr. Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms, will preach the sermon


5:30PM – Pipe Band Concert, Washington Pipes & Drums (Amphitheater adjacent to the Cathedral)


6:30PM – Reception (location TBD)