24 November 2013

Getting Tattooed in Edinburgh - Sundays in My City

I am not talking about the ink-on-skin kind of tattoo.  I'm talking about the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  I urge you to check out some of the youtube videos (I highly recommend this one although we didn't see any pure drumming corps like this super amazingness) of tattoo performances because they're amazing!

I wanted a short history of the tattoo to give you here but Wikipedia gave me so much really interesting information (information that I didn't know before going to the tattoo) that I'm going to share it with you.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.
The word "Tattoo," is derived from "Doe den tap toe", or just "tap toe" ("toe" is pronounced "too"), the Dutch for "Last orders". Translated literally, it means: "close the (beer) tap". The term "Tap-toe" was first encountered by the British Army when stationed in Flanders during the War of the Austrian Succession.
The British adopted the practice and it became a signal, played by a regiment's Corps of Drums or Pipes and Drums each night to tavern owners to turn off the taps of their ale kegs so that the soldiers would retire to their billeted lodgings at a reasonable hour. With the establishment of modern barracks and full Military bands later in the 18th century, the term Tattoo was used to describe not only the last duty call of the day, but also a ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed by Military musicians.
Although the first Tattoo in Edinburgh, entitled "Something About a Soldier", took place at the Ross Bandstand at Princes Street Gardens in 1949, the first official Edinburgh Military Tattoo began in 1950 with just eight items in the programme. It drew some 6000 spectators seated in simple bench and scaffold structures around the north, south and east sides of the Edinburgh Castle esplanade. In 1952, the capacity of the stands was increased to accommodate a nightly audience of 7700, allowing 160,000 to watch live performances each year.
Now, on average, just over 217,000 people see the Tattoo live on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle each year, and it has sold out in advance for the last decade. 30% of the audience are from Scotland and 35% from the rest of the United Kingdom. The remaining 35% of the audience consists of 70,000 visitors from overseas.

Words simply can't do justice and the pictures don't either but here are just a few from the show we saw. The theme of this year's show was The 4 Seasons and different Corps told stories from their home country related to that theme.
My sister, brother and me at the Castle grounds before the show.

A light show on the castle walls helps tell the story.

Be it tattoos or drums or drumming while getting tattooed there's always adventure to be found over at Unknown Mami.

Unknown Mami


  1. I've seen tattoo on tv but this looks much more entertaining what I've seen. Sure the feeling was happy and drumming :)

  2. I've attended collegiate drum corps contests, and while not as majestic as these Tattoos, they were exciting.

  3. Amidst all the color and ceremony, I loved seeing a picture of you. Sweet!

  4. Wow! I have dreamed of visiting Scotland! My grandfather was half-Scottish and it is definitely on my bucket list!
    I didn't know of this event but years ago I learned tattoo meant a drum call when I learned this speech exercise for acting school. "What a to-do, to die today, a minute or two till two, a distinctly difficult thing to say but harder still to do. they'll beat a tattoo..."
    Have a great week!

  5. I have never been to the Edinburgh Tattoo but have heard it is a really great event.