Coat of Arms
Royal Nova Scotia
International Tattoo

Symbolism of the Armorial Bearings of the Royal Scotia International Tattoo Society


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 the brass instruments played by the bands at the Tattoo. The diagonal pattern reflects the intricate crossover of musicians marching that is often a feature of presentations. The pattern of diagonals is a subtle reference to the tartans worn by participants at the event.


The lion represents the power of the Tattoo to entertain and inspire through music and marching. The Royal Crown on the flag it holds indicates that the Tattoo was given royal designation by Her Majesty The Queen in the spring of 2006.


The unicorn appears in the arms of Nova Scotia and the Royal Arms for Scotland and for Canada. The horn of the unicorns is an additional reference to an important group of instruments in the Tattoo. The mayflowers and thistles symbolize Nova Scotia and Scotland, the musical heritage of which is such a strong aspect of the Tattoo.


"Be├▓thaichidh Sinn An Cridhe Agus Gairmidh Sinn Dhachaidh Sibh," 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.


On a gold compass rose is a blue disc with, at its centre, a white drum with blue cords.

The white of the drum represents the Tattoo's Silver Jubilee. The drum itself symbolizes the origins of Tattoos. The compass rose symbolizes the international character of the event.

Original concept of Robert D Watt, Chief Herald of Canada, assisted by the heralds of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Painter: David Farrar
Calligrapher: Nancy Ellis