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Your highland fling begins with the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan

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It’s that time of year again when the clans of Scotland descend of teeny, tiny little Green Cove Springs for the 19th Annual Northeast Florida Highland Games.

Although the games don’t officially open until next Saturday, you can get some Scottish wind in your sails tomorrow for the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Orange Park.

Kirkin’, ye say?

The Kirkin’ celebrates Scottish tradition and heritage.

It is, however, an American tradition established by the Rev. Peter Marshall, a Scottish immigrant who served as the pastor of the New York Ave. Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC and as Chaplain of the United States.

While it’s generally assumed that the Kirkin’ is an age old rite that grew out of rebellions against the Acts of Proscription, which banned wearing kilts in the highlands, Marshall instituted it in Washington during a service on Apr. 27, 1941 with a sermon entitled the Kirkin’ o the Tartans.

Intended to raise funds for the war effort in Great Britain – to buy a mobile kitchen – the first Kirkin’ was also a call to arms, encouraging the United States to hasten our entry into World War II.

It’s believed that the idea for the Kirkin’ may have grown out of secret outdoor meetings called ‘conventicles’ held in the 1660s and 1670s by Scottish Presbyterians.

Declared illegal by the Crown, attending conventicles could result in imprisonment, torture and execution.

Most Kirkins’ include readings from Scripture, hymns to the glory of Scotland culminating in the Kirkin’ where clan members carry banners and flags of their tartans to the altar rail for a blessing and the Necrology, a reading out of the names of the recently dead in each clan.

Hitch up ye skirts

Each Kirkin’ is particular to its place and purpose.

Sunday is the perfect time to see what our local Kirkin’ has to say and to offer.

Details below.


Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan


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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact:


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