EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
SCUGOG: As any fan of the novels or cable television series known as Outlander will admit, the Fraser name can cause pulses to race. The arrival of The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band in downtown Port Perry on Sunday, April 7th should certainly be marked on the calendars of both Fraser fans and people proud of their Scottish heritage.
The cause of celebration is Tartan Day, a Canadian event proclaimed into law in 2010, but marked since 1986 in Nova Scotia. It recalls the anniversary of the Declaration of Scottish Independence on April 6th, 1320 when a letter regarding Scotland’s status and right to use military action was signed by the Chancellor of Scotland and Abbot of Arbroath, sealed by nobles, and sent to Pope John Paul XXII.
Jamie Fraser fans will know that his era was the 1740s and the battle he fought was the Battle of Culloden, on April 16th, 1746 and marked the defeat of Charles Edward Stuart. After this battle, the wearing of tartan was banned by the English monarchy but Tartan Day does not refer to Culloden, celebrating it as part of Scottish heritage instead.
Beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, the Frasers, as the pipe band is known, will be joined by the Uxbridge Legion Pipes and Drums to lead a parade from Palmer Park to Reflection Park.
Much fun has been had in previous years as participants in the “Famous Scot Look-Alike” contest have also joined the parade, including some brave lads wearing kilts and sporting bare chests and blue-painted faces as they mimicked William Wallace.
Another Scottish character known to join the parade is Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Wee Tartan Shop’s Majorie Mason thought it would be a lot of fun if residents dressed up as Jamie and Claire Fraser, of Outlander, and joined the parade but anyone wearing tartan is welcome to follow the band.
At 2:30 p.m., the procession stops at St. John’s Presbyterian Church for a special church service called the Kirkin, or blessing, of the Tartan. At 4 p.m. the Port Perry Legion welcomes everyone, the look-alike contest is judged and the merriment of music and dancing begins. The supper menu features Scottish meat pies, haggis, mashed potatoes, peas, salad, a roll and dessert.
People of all ages are welcome to attend the supper and tickets are available for $20 at The Wee Tartan Shop in Port Perry before the event. Call 905-985-6573 for information.
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