Webster defines tartan as woolen cloth woven in a pattern of stripes crossing at right angles; pattern used in this cloth. In Scotland, the colors of the tartan were and still are used as designations for family units (clans), areas (Edinburgh) and military regiments (Black Watch). There is also a Scottish National Tartan, dubbed the Flower of Scotland. The ancient plaid was more like a blanket that was made of tartan, used for clothing as well as for utility reasons. From that item, we have arrived at what is called the kilt, or the short skirt-like garment worn by pipers around the world. The great kilt of Braveheart was, in those days, composed of nine yards of a one-piece tartan material and had to be put on while the wearer was lying on his back. Today, pipe bands everywhere always don not only a kilt, but some will wear a separate plaid over the shoulder, reminiscent of the days when the great kilt, or Feileadh Mor, was worn in the Highlands of Scotland.
The tartan is an article of high importance to every clan, so much so, that thousands of its diverse colors and patterns are officially registered in Edinburgh. For anyone to legitimately wear the tartan of their clan, permission from their Clan Chief must be granted. The Father of Waters Pipes & Drums, in an effort to gain more uniformity in dress, adopted the Carmichael tartan as the official tartan of the band in honor of the band.s founder, Band Master Kris Carmichael. However, in keeping with Scottish tradition, before the band could legally wear it, permission from Richard Carmichael of Carmichael, 30th Chief of the Name, and 26th Baron of the Lands of Carmichael, Scotland would be needed. In a hand written letter to Chief Richard Carmichael, Band Master Kris Carmichael asked for permission from his Chief, allowing the band to wear the Carmichael tartan. A response to the Band Master.s letter was penned on September 2, 2002 in the hand and by the seal of the Chief himself, which in reply, stated:
I thank you for your letter of August 17 with the exciting news about your Father of Waters Pipes and Drums and congratulate you on your great achievement in establishing the first such band in Mississippi.
When I think back to 1986 and your first chanter and pipes purchased here in Scotland, I realize how very far you have come with your piping! Sincere congratulations from both Patricia and myself.
I am delighted to be able to confirm that I am very happy for the Father of Waters Pipes and Drums to wear Carmichael Tartan and to be the first band, known to me, to do so! I look forward to seeing and hearing you all play together someday.
Once again many Congratulations and every good wish for the future success of the Band.
Richard Carmichael of Carmichael