Kirkin' o' the Tartans

    October 20, 2019 | News by PHPC News

    PHPC will celebrate Kirkin' o' the Tartans on Sunday, October 27! 

    Each year, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church celebrates its Scottish Presbyterian heritage with a Kirkin’ O' The Tartans service.

    "Kirk" is the Scottish word for "church." Tartans, with their distinctive plaid, represent specific Scottish clans, regions, or regiments. The "Kirkin' O' The Tartans" is the presentation of a Scottish family's symbol, its tartan, at church for blessing. 

    After Bonnie Prince Charlie's Scottish forces were defeated by the English in 1746 in the Battle of Culloden, the wearing of tartans and the playing of bagpipes were forbidden in Scotland for many years. Wearing or displaying of tartans was punishable by death. During those years, some Scots wore concealed pieces of their tartan when they attended church. At a particular point in the worship service, they would secretly touch their hidden tartan cloth, and the minister would offer a blessing.

    The first formal "Kirkin" in America was conducted at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., in 1941. Their minister at the time was Dr. Peter Marshall, born in Scotland, who was also Chaplain of the United States Senate.  Of course, no Kirkin’ Sunday could occur without bagpipes, considered the national instrument of Scotland.

    Beyond the particular heritage of Scotland and its people, Preston Hollow’s Kirkin' is intended to encourage all participants to reflect with thanksgiving on their own family and ethnic heritage, and to celebrate God's grace poured out for all generations.

    Back to Articles