KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Heralding back to history, Tennessee State Parks recently reminded people that the state does, in fact, have an official tartan. The tartan has roots across the Atlantic Ocean in Scotland, where clans displayed their family colors to represent their regions and heritage.

The Tennessee General Assembly in 1999 adopted an official state tartan in order to commemorate the important part played by persons of Scottish descent in the history of Tennessee.

The official tartan of Tennessee. (Photo: Tennessee State Parks)

A tartan was designed with colors and symbolism relevant to Tennessee:

  • Natural white, representing the unity of the three Grand Divisions of the State of Tennessee
  • Dark green, representing the importance of agriculture to the state
  • Purple, representing the state flower, the Iris
  • Red, representing the sacrifices made by Tennessee soldiers and pioneers
  • Dark blue, representing the mountains of Tennessee

The State of Tennessee tartan was made official in April 1999 when former Gov. Don Sundquist allowed the Senate bill to become law without his signature. The official state tartan of Tennessee is listed in Tennessee Code Annotated or TCA § 4-1-323.

Earlier this month, people enjoyed the annual Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games in East Tennessee, where many descendants of Scottish settlers celebrated honored traditions and Scottish and Highland games.

East Tennessee also is home to the Scottish Society of Knoxville, which seeks “to foster interest in the culture, heritage, and contributions of the Scots and Scots-Irish, and to provide venues for recognizing and celebrating their rich legacy,” according to the group’s website.

Curious if your family has roots and a tartan in Scotland after many generations in the Volunteer State? The Scottish Register of Tartans, which is run by the National Records of Scotland, offers search engine and threadcount information, which can be found here.