10th Annual Tartan Day on Ellis Island Presents "A Celebration of Tartan," April 1-3, 2011

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Tartan Week in New York opens on Ellis Island on Friday, April 1, 2011 with a three-day family-friendly Scottish festival featuring a new exhibition entitled, "A Celebration of Tartan" and performances by a company of pipers, drummers, musicians and dancers representing Scotland's "portable culture" that were brought to America by Scottish immigrants.

Clan Currie's Ellis Island programs "stand out as a beacon of what USA Tartan Day is all about" - Roddy Martine, Scottish author and journalist.

"Tartan Day on Ellis Island" returns for its tenth annual observance with a three-day celebration of Scottish heritage commencing on Friday, April 1. A new exhibition entitled, "A Celebration of Tartan," will trace the history and explore the mythology surrounding Scotland's most enduring icons. The event is produced by the Clan Currie Society - one of the country's leading Scottish heritage organizations. The Ellis Island event will open NY Tartan Week - a ten-day festival of all things Scottish.

A Celebration of Tartan

From the kilted clans of the Highlands to the runways of Milan, tartan is the definitive symbol of Scotland. Yet tartan, thanks to Scotland's gift of it, is beloved throughout the world. No other fabric is so steeped in tradition or paradoxically, so consistently at the forefront of fashion. Historians study it while designers design in it. Rockers and royals alike agree - tartan rules.

Interpretive panels will explore the fact and fiction of tartan, and how this national fabric has captured the imagination of the entire world. A collection of tartan outfits will also be displayed presenting tartan in a multitude of interpretations, including Victorian-era tartan fashion, a Highlander's costume from the MGM film "Brigadoon," a Black Watch regimental officer's uniform, and several top designer interpretations from Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kaye Couture and Kinloch Anderson.

Tartan experts will be present during the weekend to help visitors find their tartan and learn more about their specific clan's history.

The exhibition will be displayed adjacent the Great Hall on Ellis Island on the museum's second floor. Tartan Day on Ellis Island is produced by the Clan Currie Society. The blue ribbon advisory panel for the exhibition includes Matt Newsome of the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, NC; Dr. Hugh Cheape, formerly of the National Museums of Scotland, fashion designer and tartan author Jeffrey Banks, Brian Wilton from the Scottish Tartans Authority, George MacKenzie from the National Archives of Scotland and Alison Diamond from the Scottish Register of Tartans.

The Clan Currie Society will also be unveiling a new American tartan specifically designed for the occasion. Support for the exhibition has been generously provided by VisitScotland, Michael Kaye Couture, the Scottish Register of Tartans and Kinloch Anderson. The Clan Currie Society also acknowledges the support and cooperation of the National Park Service and specifically the staff at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monument.

The Pipes will Play

In addition to the new exhibition, Ellis Island will play host to a broad range of outstanding performers who will present Scotland's "portable culture" - the music, dance, and folklore that were brought to this country by Scottish immigrants over the three-day weekend.

The growing roster of Ellis Island performers includes, renowned "Riverdance" piper Christopher Layer, the New York Celtic Dancers, the Westchester and District Pipe Band, John Grimaldi the Kilted Juggler, harpist Mia Theodoratus, Gaelic singer Caroline Bennett and the Rampant Lion Pipe Band among others.

America's Golden Door

Ellis Island is a fitting place to observe Tartan Day. The island and its historic buildings represent America's "Golden Door." From 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island. Although many Scots arrived during the colonial period of our history - helping to build the new nation - an additional half-million Scots came through Ellis Island. It has been estimated that 40% of Americans today can trace at least one ancestor's entry into the United States through Ellis Island.

The Tartan Day event runs from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day. There is no admission charge to the Tartan Day events or the immigration museum. Passenger ferries run from Battery Park in New York City and Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. For complete ferry schedules to Ellis Island, visit: http://www.statuecruises.com.

For additional information about the Ellis Island Tartan Day observance phone (908) 273-3509 or visit http://www.tartandayonellisisland.com.

About Tartan Day on Ellis Island

Tartan Day on Ellis Island is one of the principal Scottish heritage events in the United States. The program is produced annually by the Clan Currie Society - one of the largest clan societies in the world - formed in 1959 to preserve and promote Scottish heritage and culture.

Describing the Tartan Week program, noted Scottish journalist and author Roddy Martine reported that of all the Tartan Day events held in the United States, the Ellis Island observance has, "stood out as a beacon of what USA Tartan Day is all about: the emigrant ancestors of ordinary Americans who over three centuries crossed the Atlantic Ocean to create the world's greatest democracy."

Past programs have included, "The Life and Legacy of John Muir," "Home and Away," "A Celebration of Scotland's Crafts," "The Jacobites and America," and "Scotland's Gifts."

About The Clan Currie Society

The Clan Currie Society, an American-based, international, non-profit cultural and educational organization, is the preeminent Scottish-American cultural society in preserving and promoting highland heritage at Scottish Games, ethnic festivals, as well as community groups and classrooms. The Society has over 3,000 members worldwide that gather via the Society's website and at special events and clan gatherings.

The Society was originally formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1959 to further the knowledge and appreciation of the MacMhuirich (pronounced MacVurich) bardic dynasty. Today, the organization is a respected producer of outstanding programs and events to honor Scotland's rich culture and ancestry.

The MacMhuirichs served for over 700 years as professional poets to the Lords of the Isles and later to the MacDonalds of Clanranald among other prominent Highland clans and families. The Red Book of Clanranald, one of Gaelic Scotland's literary treasures, was penned by successive generations of the MacMhuirich family.

In more contemporary times, MacMhuirich poetry and short stories have been chronicled in Alexander Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica, Angus MacLellan's Stories of South Uist, Thomas Owen Clancy's The Triumph Tree (Scotland's Earliest Poetry 550-1350) and An Laebhar Mor - TheGreat Book of Gaelic. The ancient and historic MacMhuirich name and its anglicized equivalent Currie can be found throughout the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

The Society's signature events include The Pipes of Christmas - a musical celebration of Christmas performed on bagpipes and brass, harp and fiddle, and organ - and the annual observance of Tartan Day on Ellis Island. The Clan Currie Society is the Title Sponsor of the National Scottish Harp Championship of America.

The Society's annual scholarship program includes the Alex Currie Memorial Scholarship for Bagpipe, administered by the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts in Nova Scotia; the Pipe Major Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Scholarship, administered by the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland; the Col. William McMurdo Currie Memorial Scholarship for the Clarsach (Scottish Harp) administered by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Private Bill Millin Memorial Scholarship for Bagpipe administered by Lyon College of Arkansas.

The Society has been recognized as the Honored Clan at a number of Highland Games and gatherings, including the Brodick Games on the Isle of Arran, the Bute Games on the Isle of Bute, and the Clanjamfry Scottish Festival in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Arms of the Society were granted by the Court of the Lord Lyon, Edinburgh, Scotland on June 30, 2006. The star, or mullet, is a heraldic symbol frequently found on individual Currie family coats of arms in Scotland. The thistle wreath, or chaplet, represents the international community the Society has created in "promoting Scottish heritage in general and Clan Currie heritage in particular, involving domestic and international matters."

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