Celebrate Canada Committee Announces its 2019 Theme on National Tartan Day
The Saint John Canada Day Committee is honouring National Tartan Day April 6th by announcing its 2019 theme of the June 21-July 1 festivities as tartan.
The tartan represents so many elements of society: inventing and honouring tradition and symbols; to explore traditional dress; and, cultures as a whole. “The tartan represents how each of our stories from around the world are part of the fabric of New Brunswick and Canadian society” says Stephany Peterson of the 2019 Celebrate Canada Committee.
The tartan itself has a rich history, with examples found not only in Scotland – that embraced this pattern as its official symbol in the 19th century – but across Europe and Asia for many centuries. The material is so intricate, colourful, and meaningful that it became the object of history’s very first colour photograph.
Each province possesses its own tartan, and the nation itself likewise has its special sett (as the pattern of the tartan is called). These bright patterns will be featured as part of the Celebrate Canada festivities in Saint John, being hosted daily from National Indigenous People’s Day June 21 until the fireworks grand finale July 1. Features include the fan favourite Poutinerie Challenge on St Jean-Baptiste Day June 24, and Multicultural Day June 27. Musical comedy act The Tartan Terrors are also returning this year, performing multiple days over the course of the long weekend leading up to Canada Day itself.
The annual youth arts competition this year has a particularly meaningful connection to the theme. Students of southern school districts are invited to receive a 10X10 square of tartan to adapt into their own expression of their identity as a quilting project. Hundreds have already been distributed. These squares will be adapted and placed on proud display during the festivities. The wellspring of the idea is a project of Ampersand Collaborations Perluète, and the winning entries of the quilt competition will be incorporated as a feature of the new official New Brunswick Citizenship Quilt. This quilt is a component of a project in development between Ampersand and Elsipogtog First Nations elders. The quilt will be a part of Hope Restored: A Symposium, being hosted throughout Uptown Saint John May 10&11. The symposium welcomes one and all to bring a piece of fabric meaningful to their culture to be added to the quilt, as indeed, we are all a part of the fabric of New Brunswick.
The quilt will return to Saint John for June 21: the National Indigenous People’s Day ceremony. This year’s event will welcome indigenous representation from across New Brunswick, including the Tobique and Elsipogtog. The day will be in memory of Gary Sappier, who has been part of the festivities in Saint John for a number of years. Gary’s unexpected passing earlier this year is a great loss for the arts of our region, and the day will pay respects to him.
The Celebrate Canada Committee of Saint John has been hosting festivities to honour our nation’s birth for nearly two decades. The events have increased in scope and scale over the years, and have enjoyed partnerships with individuals, community, and government to acknowledge and encourage the celebration of our diversity and heritage with a multitude of free of charge and public festivals and events. A full schedule of events and information for how to volunteer and take part are available at www.sjcanadaday.ca, or by contacting 658-3600.
Ampersand Collaborations Perluète is a social profit organization. Its mission is evoked in its name: the ampersand (&). The ampersand is a stand-alone character whose purpose is to connect. It is a symbol for “and per se, and”. Unlike most letters, its single use carries a meaning all on its own; however, its purpose is lost without being used to bring things together. Such is the mission of Ampersand Collaborations Perluète. To bring together individuals, community, and organizations that are more comprehensive for their union, and to render the evocative rigorous within the connections of impact in personal narrative, community organizations, and academic research.