National Tartan Day: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Scotland

PHOTO: A Bagpipe band plays in Pitlochry, Scotland.
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Don't be surprised if you see people decked out in tartan this weekend. Today, April 6, the United States is celebrating National Tartan Day. The day is intended to recognize the contributions of Scottish Americans to the U.S. Here's a look at five things you didn't know about Scotland.

PHOTO: A Bagpipe band plays in Pitlochry, Scotland.
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Tartan: Scotland's Famous Patterned Woven Textile

It's the most recognizable pattern associated with Scotland. Tartan consists of "interwoven vertical and horizontal lines, known as a sett," according to Scotland's National Tourism Organisation. The pattern is seen on shirts, kilts and other clothing.

PHOTO: People march during the "Tunes Of Glory" Parade celebrating "Tartan Day" on Sixth Ave. April 5, 2003 in New York City.
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April 6 Commemorates the Signing of Arbroath in 1320

The Declaration of Arbroath, a declaration of Scottish independence, was signed on April 6, 1320. Scottish barons and earls then sent the declaration, in the form of a letter, to Pope John XXII to assert Scotland's status as an independent state. It also asked the pontiff to recognize "Robert the Bruce as the country's lawful king," according to the National Records of Scotland. The American Declaration of Independence was modeled after the Declaration of Arbroath.

In the United States, the Senate passed a resolution in 1998 to designate April 6 as "National Tartan Day."

"Whereas this resolution honors the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the governors in nine of the original 13 States were of Scottish ancestry, Scottish Americans successfully helped shape this country in its formative years and guide this nation through its most troubled times." the resolution said.

In 2005, the House passed similar resolution.

PHOTO: A Robert Burns statue in Pittsburgh, Pa.
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"Auld Lang Syne" Is a Traditional Scottish Song

It's the tune that New Year's Eve revelers love to belt out. Written by poet Robert Burns in 1788, the song was set to a traditional Scottish folk melody. "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long since," according to Scotland's official government site.

Below is the original Scots version of Auld Lang Syne:

1. Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne.

Chorus And for auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,

2. And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
3. We twa hae run about the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

4. We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

5. And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

PHOTO: Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol performs live at Ahoy on March 1, 2012 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
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Not all Bagpipes: From Snow Patrol to Idlewild to Susan Boyle

While Scottish music is often associated with bagpipes, there are several artists who hail from or got their start in Scotland, including "Britain's Got Talent's" Susan Boyle, Scottish/Northern Irish band Snow Patrol, rock band Big Country and indie band Frightened Rabbit.

Gaelic Still Alive in Scotland

While English is still the main language spoken in Scotland, there more than 150 other languages spoken, including the ancient Celtic language of Gaelic. According to the "Attitudes Toward the Gaelic Language" study in 2011, 80 percent of the Scottish population was "aware of Gaelic being used in Scotland, with highest awareness of Gaelic usage in the media (61percent)." Another 39 percent mentioned Gaelic used in education. Gaelic is also used in transportation signage.

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