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Clans and Societies

 Following your clan and its history is a great way to connect with your Scottish Heritage. You can google your clan to connect with them online, but at a Scottish Festival, you can connect in person! The Utah Scottish Festival & Highland Games hosts some of the best. Come visit our Clan Village.

 

Clans will gather all three days of our festival!

 

Friday: Clan representatives will march during the Tattoo.

Saturday: Clans will gather and march during the Opening Ceremonies. Clan tents will be set up throughout the day. Clan storytelling will also take place on Saturday.

Sunday: There will be a Clan procession across the ground to the Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan where the Clans will be blessed. Clan tents will be set up throughout the day.

 

Clan List 2023

This year’s Honored Clan is Clan MacIntyre

Clan Arthur Association, USA

Clan Cameron

Clan Campbell

Clan Colquhoun

Clan Dunlop

Clan Farquharson USA

Clan Graham

Clan Grant

American Clan Gregor Society

Clan Hay

Clan Hunter

Clan Kincaid

Clan Lamont

Clan Leslie

Clan MacKay

Clan MacKinnon

Clan MacLellan

Clan MacLeod

International Clan MacFarlane Society

Clan MacLachlan

Clan Maxwell

Clan Morrison

Clan Murray

Scottish District Families Association

Clan Wallace

What if my clan isn't represented?

If your clan isn't here today, it is possible there isn't a local branch convener. You can find out be researching your clan online. If you don't know your clan, you can go to almost any clan tent and they will help you find a clan that is connected to your surname.  Many clans will not be represented at our festival. That could mean there is no local branch, or that the local branch was unable to attend this specific event for other reasons.  Once you find your clan online, you can contact them and ask if there is a local branch or convener.  We recommend THIS WEBSITE to help you find your Clan and Tartan..

What's the Tartan all about?

 

Millions of people around the world are proud to wear tartan – which, according to the 2008 Scottish Register of Tartans Act is ‘a design which is capable of being woven consisting of two or more alternating coloured stripes which combine vertically and horizontally to form a repeated chequered pattern’.Tartan is perhaps best known when worn as a kilt, but can feature on many other items including ties, hats, blankets and shawls.

There are no set rules about who can wear what tartan but traditionally, people look for a tartan associated either with the name of their clan, or the tartan associated with the region where their ancestors lived. There is also a range of tartans which can be worn by those without a family connection to a clan or sept.

Just a few tartans are classed as restricted wear, for example the Balmoral tartan which can only be worn by members of the British Royal Family, and also several tartans restricted to certain clan members only.

One of the best known tartans is the Royal Stewart tartan, which is associated with the Royal House of Stewart, which reigned from 1316 (Robert II of Scots) to 1714 (Queen Anne). Despite its royal associations, the Royal Stewart Tartan can be worn by anyone.

"Getting involved in your clan...

 

Joining your Scottish clan society or association is an great way to connect with your Scottish kinfolk throughout the world and to further explore your heritage. Officially, you don’t need to take any action to be considered part of a Scottish clan because every person who has the same surname as the chief is deemed to be a member of the clan. In addition, any person who offers allegiance to the chief is recognized as a member of the clan unless the chief decides that he will not accept that person’s allegiance. But joining a clan society or association offers benefits beyond claiming that connection.

 

While clans have existed in Scotland since the late Middle Ages, clan societies or associations as we know them today in the United States have a more recent origin. Some were formed in the mid to late 1800s or early 1900s, but most got their start in the 1950s. Post World War II, people began to have the time and money to spend on Scottish heritage and tourism, and so clan societies became popular.

Your clan...

 

Once you’ve learned if your clan has an official society, there are several ways to connect. Visiting a local or regional Scottish or Celtic festival or Highland games is probably the most fun way. While not all clan societies or associations participate in all events, most try to have representatives at the larger Highland games in the United States. When attending, look for the clan tents and then find your clan; often the event program will list the participating clans, but other clans at the festival may be able to help you find your clan tent.

If your clan doesn’t participate in an event near you, you may be able to find them online. Most clans have websites as well as Facebook pages or groups. The clan website will be the best place to get information about membership and to find a membership form either to download or complete online. Be aware that clans have branches all over the world; and may handle membership differently based on location. For example, Clan Gunn has a website for the Clan Gunn Society UK and for Clan Gunn Society of North America; they are connected, but you’ll want to join the North American branch.

Do I need to prove my ancestry to join?

 

In the past, some clans required genealogical proof in order to become a member. But that has changed, primarily because without a membership base, clans wouldn’t exist in modern society. Most clans still ask for a surname on the membership form. Some distinguish between full membership (voting rights) for those that have a clan or sept surname or an affiliate/associate membership for those who want to join without having the surname connection. And some clans don’t ask about surnames and welcome all who want to join."

AUTHOR

Diana DeBrohun

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