The Blessing of the Tartans in church is a distinctly American rite with no precedent in Scotland. The first Kirkin’ was celebrated in 1941 at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church by the Scottish preacher and Chaplain to the Senate, the Reverend Dr. Peter Marshall, member of the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC. This Kirkin’ eventually moved to the National Cathedral in Washington and is an annual event in April.
The St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore held its first Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans in 1957 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in downtown Baltimore where it has become an annual tradition. A kirkin’ o’ the Tartans at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis began in 1967 and used to be followed by wreath laying ceremonies at the crypt of John Paul Jones under the chapel at the U.S. Naval Academy and at the Midway memorial. These Kirkin’ ceremonies have been expanded to many denominations and parishes as you can see from the schedule below.
April – Mary Our Queen Roman Catholic Cathedral on North Charles St.
April – National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
June – St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis
October – St. Andrew’s Christian Community Church on Roland Ave.
November – Perry Hall Presbyterian Church on Belair Rd.
November – Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Cathedral & Reed Streets