The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

During the wars of the 17th century, drummers from British garrisons were sent to town at 9:30 in the evening to signal innkeepers to stop serving beer and British soldiers to return to barracks. Drums and wars and beer deprivation may be the last thing to think about on an Edinburgh holiday, but this process, called the military tattoo, has evolved into an elaborate show, the most famous of which happens in Edinburgh every August.

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a spectacular show that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Edinburgh each year, and has a television audience of around 100 million people. The event takes place in the evening at the esplanade right in front of Edinburgh Castle. The show begins when the castle gates sweep open and out march hundreds of Scotland’s finest fighting men, dressed in full regalia, their drums and bagpipes filling the air with traditional tunes that echo Scotland’s glorious history.

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The programme varies each year, but consistently features select Scottish regiments performing fancy drills in rhythm with their drums and bagpipes, international guest performers, dancers, and stunt performers. The spectacle ends with a lone piper weaving a haunting lament at the castle ramparts, and finally a fireworks display as the audience join in to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne.’

2009 celebrates the 60th year of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, as well as a tribute on the 250th birth anniversary of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. The event will take place from the 7th to the 29th of August, and promises a colorful musical event.

Take this opportunity to visit Edinburgh Castle, and immerse yourself in Scotland’s rich and colorful history. See the Scottish crown jewels the Honours of Scotland, learn about 400 years of war at the National War Museum and the Royal Scots Regimental Museum, or just enjoy breathtaking views of Edinburgh from different vantage points atop the castle walls.

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