Tartan Day

Dossier ~ Thursday 7th April 2016

To mark the occasion why not (re)discover
The Black Island from The Adventures of Tintin cartoons on TintinTV

Tartan Day really does exist!

Tartan Day is a celebration of Scottish heritage originally enjoyed by the Scottish diaspora in Canada, but today participated in by Scottish communities in many other countries. It commemorates the signing, in 1320, of the Declaration of Arbroath, a declaration of Scottish independence. In America and Canada Tartan Day happens on 6 April; in Australia and New Zealand the day is celebrated on 1 July.


“...For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

A piece of tartan, a piece of history...

Traditional Scottish dress is not just about wearing... a dress. The famous garb is the official attire for Scots at weddings, sporting occasions and special events. Some Scots simply like to show their pride in being Scottish. There is a deep patriotism associated with the kilt, which has its roots in the reaction against the historical English oppression of Gaelic culture. Celtic languages form a branch of the Indo-European languages and are today spoken in certain parts of the British Isles, in Brittany, in Nova Scotia and in Canada (Cape Breton Island).

source - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Australians

“The kilt is contemporary clothing that is worn today. There are deep links between the Scots, the Irish and the Bretons. In my view, the kilt is emblematic of these links.”
Richard Duclos, creator of Tartan Breton.

Tintin wears a kilt

The first time

It was in the spring of 1938, in Le Petit Vingtième, that Tintin first donned a kilt. Aside from a brief moment of novelty, the hero quickly becomes accustomed to his new clothes, wearing them until the end of the story. Hergé's decision to dress his star character in a kilt was not at all made under the influence of stereotypes; in Scotland a kilt can be work in town, in the countryside, or in any public place.

Which is why no-one bats an eyelid when Tintin walks into the Kiltoch Arms in his new clothes. The reporter also has long, thick socks and a jumper on, which completes the natural look. He continues to carry off the bona fide Scottish style until the end. On the last page of The Black Island, Tintin poses proudly in his kilt, with the police who have busted the counterfeiting gang.

Scottish traditions and Hergé

In between the first black and white version of the story (with four full-colour, full-page frames), published in 1938 and the latest version published in 1965, the cut of Tintin's kilt does not change.

Hergé profited from the work carried out for the latter version of the story to add some detail. The kilt was decorated with traditional stitching and the sporran updated. Even Tintin's Scottish socks were made a little more realistic.

Symbolic of free masculinity

Tintin wears a modern kilt with contemporary folds and the hem above the knee. Cut from handsome woollen tartan, the kilt chosen by Hergé corresponds with those worn by the Highland Scots.

Hergé always managed to keep Tintin up with the times!

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