Tartan Day: Photos of Scotland From 1947 LIFE Magazine Photo Essay

April 6, 2015 12:00 PM

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Spectators of this weekend’s Tartan Day Parade in New York City would do well to refresh their knowledge of traditional Scottish dress before the sound of bagpipes fills the air. A tartan, as LIFE explained to readers in 1947, “is a cloth bearing a pattern of overlayed checks in several bright colors.” A plaid, contrary to popular usage, “is actually a blanketlike piece of tartan worn over the shoulder.”

National Tartan Day, observed annually on April 6 in the United States, commemorates the anniversary of Scottish independence, declared in 1320. Six centuries later, LIFE profiled the country’s landscape, economy and traditions, touting Scotland’s most celebrated exports — among them whiskey, golf, ...

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