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The Nova Scotia International Tattoo Society
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Grant of Arms, Supporters, Flag and Badge
June 20, 2003
Vol. IV, p. 244
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Azure fretty of bendlets Argent and bendlets sinister Or;
A demi lion Azure holding a banner of the Arms;
Two unicorns Or armed crined and unguled Argent standing on a compartment of mayflowers and thistle flowers proper;
BEÒTHAICHIDH SINN AN CRIDHE AGUS GAIRMIDH SINN DHACHAIDH SIBH;
The white (heraldic silver) represents the Tattoo's 25th anniversary. Blue and white are the colours of Nova Scotia with the blue also evoking the Nova Scotia tartan. The gold symbolizes the colour of many of the brass instruments played by bands which have been part of tattoos over the years. The diagonal pattern reflects the intricate "crossover" of musicians marching that is often a feature of presentations. The overall pattern of diagonals is a subtle reference to the tartans that are such a spectacular visual element of the event.
The lion represents the power of the Tattoo to entertain and inspire through music and marching. The colours of the lion link it to the symbolism of the shield, while the small flag being held symbolizes the lion's upholding of the character and mission of the Tattoo.
The unicorn appears in the provincial arms of Nova Scotia and the Royal Arms for Scotland and for Canada. These unicorns are made distinctive to the Society through their colouring, which also ties them visually and symbolically to the shield. Use of this mythic creature emphasizes that the Tattoo is a Nova Scotian and Canadian institution. The unicorn is a much loved, much used and ancient heraldic symbol. Among its attributes are grace and beauty, characteristics which are prominent in so many of the Tattoo presentations. The horn of the unicorns is an additional reference to an important group of instruments and sounds in the Tattoo. The mayflowers and thistles symbolize Nova Scotia and Scotland whose musical heritage is such a strong aspect of the Tattoo.
Meaning "We stir the heart and call you home". This phrase arises from the way in which the spectacle of the Tattoo stirs our hearts and invites us to think of our country and ancestral homelands.