The History The ceremony of Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan is of American origin, though based on Scottish history and legend. After Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish forces were defeated by the English at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Scotland once again came under British rule. To control the Scots, an Act was passed that forbade the carrying of arms and the wearing of kilts or tartans which represented Scottish heritage. Orders were given for British troops to kill any person dressed in or displaying the tartan.
The Legend This Act prompted the stubborn Scots to secretly carry with them a piece of their tartan as they went to the Kirk. The minister then slipped a blessing (a Kirkin’) into the service for the tartans. The prohibition against tartans lasted for nearly 50 years. When at last repealed, the Church of Scotland celebrated with a Service of Family Covenant, at which time the tartan of each family was offered as a covenant expression for the Lord’s blessing.
The First Kirkin' The Saint Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC, held the first Kirkin’ during the early years of World War II. The late Dr. Peter Marshall, an eloquent Scot, then Chaplain of the US Senate as well as a pastor, led the service in 1943, choosing “Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan” for the title of his sermon. He had preached many sermons in support of the British War Relief and the Scottish Clans Evacuation Plan. His sermons were so popular that a request was made for their publication, with the proceeds designated for war relief programs. As the war continued, the DC St. Andrew’s Society continued to hold prayer services for British subjects. These became known as Kirkins.
South Aiken Presbyterian Tartan History & Color Meaning
A committee (2004-2007), chaired by Mrs. Dixie Lewis, who passed away in 2007, worked with the Scottish Tartan Society on a unique design for South Aiken Presbyterian Church.
The society offered two unique designs and the committee presented them to the congregation in 2007 for a vote. The Session approved the purchase of one bolt of fabric and a flag. Our flag stands proudly displayed in our Narthex.
The tartan is composed of four colors: sand, orange, green and blue. Sand is for the Holy Land where the Patron Saint of Scotland lived, for the Scottish beach where his bones were found, and for the sands of South Carolina. Orange is for the sunrises of each new day. Green is for the pines and palms of the Holy Land and South Carolina Blue is for the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
The Official Tartan of South Aiken Presbyterian Church