Kirkin’ of the Tartans at Christ Cathedral in late November

Kirkin’ of the Tartans at Christ Cathedral in late November

Christ Cathedral announces the return of its popular Kirkin’ of the Tartans worship service and Feast of St. Andrew, set for Thursday, November 30 at 6 pm at the Cathedral, at 138 S. Eighth Street in Downtown Salina.

The Kirkin’ of the Tartans is designed to spotlight the Scottish tradition of having family and clan tartans blessed at a special time of year. The Thursday-evening service and following potluck meal are open to the public, especially those of Gaelic or Celtic descent, or anyone interested in those cultures. Given that three of Salina’s four founding families were Scottish, many feel that a Kirkin’ of the Tartans service is well-suited for the community.

“Just as we are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, all are welcome to “put on their Scottish” for the Kirking of the Tartans event,” says Mo. Shay Craig, dean of Christ Cathedral.” The Thursday-evening Kirkin’ of the Tartans and potluck offer the community a unique taste of Scottish music, traditions and food in a historic setting.

At 6 pm that Thursday, attendees will be piped into the Cathedral by McPherson area bagpipers for a service including Holy Eucharist (communion), festive music and ancient prayers. The tartan sash, kilt or fabric swatch of any families in attendance that night will be blessed.

Immediately following the worship service is a potluck Ceilidh (‘KAY-lee’) supper and a ticketed Scotch Whisky tasting in the parish hall library, plus activities for young ones. The evening ends as those in attendance select the Parish Chieftain who will receive a special sash to be worn at next year’s Kirkin’. A small take-home memento will be given to all attending the worship service.

Today’s modern-day Kirkin’ traditions link back to mid-16th-century Scottish history. After Bonnie Prince Charlie's Scottish forces were defeated by the English in the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the wearing of tartans and playing of bagpipes were forbidden across Scotland. Wearing or displaying of tartans was punishable by death. In those years, some Scots wore concealed pieces of their clan tartan when they attended church. At a particular point during worship, they would secretly touch their hidden tartan while the minister offered a blessing. In recent years, various aspects of Scottish history and lore have been popularized through the “Outlander” books and accompanying Starz TV series.

The first recognized Kirkin’ service in America was conducted at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. in 1941. The tradition has grown in popularity since then. Beyond spotlighting and sharing about Episcopalian heritage and Scottish culture, Christ Cathedral’s November 30 Kirkin’ of the Tartans and Feast of St. Andrew potluck encourages participants to reflect on their own family and ethnic heritage, celebrating God's grace across generations.

Those wishing to stay for the potluck Ceilidh (‘KAY-lee’) or purchase a “Whisky In the Library” ticket for $15 (ages 21 and over only), should RSVP by Wednesday, November 22 to the Cathedral at 785-827-4440 or to Those joining in the potluck meal are invited to bring a Scottish or a favorite side dish. Recipe ideas are available at: or :

Christ Cathedral considers itself central to Salina’s community fabric, as “the church at the heart of the city, with a heart for the city.” For more information on the Kirkin’ of the Tartans event or other Cathedral happenings, contact Cathedral staff at 785-827-4440 or visit or .

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