National Mac Day is celebrated on April 12 annually. “Mac” is a common name in Scotland, Ireland, and other countries with a significant population of Irish and Scottish descendants. Most names beginning with Mac are its Christian or anglicized versions, like MacDicken, MacRitchie, and MacGuinness. The submergence of Gaelic, a Celtic language, in eighteenth-century Ireland, pushed this name into oblivion, but it still goes strong in Scotland and, to a lesser extent, Wales. Mac and Mc are often interchangeable; the latter is the short version of the former.
History of National Mac Day
The word ‘Mac means ‘son’ in the Gaelic language. In the context of surnames, this word translates as ‘son of’ and was used as a prefix to indicate the family or ancestry. The name is prominent in Scotland and Ireland. The adoption of hereditary surnames was introduced around the eleventh century when the interactions between Gaelic and Norse people influenced the naming system. The Vikings, who settled in Ireland and Scotland, intermarried with the locals, forming Norse-Gael communities that dominated the Irish and Scottish seas.
Some of the best-known Mac surnames carry traces of their Norse origin. The Irish MacManus and MacLoughlin, and the Scottish MacLachlan are some examples. The Normans, who settled in the northern part of the Frankish kingdom (modern-day France), also combined some of their names with the prefix, Mac.
By the 1800s, the use of this prefix tapered off in Ireland but remained in use by the Scottish settlers in the province of Ulster. In the seventeenth century, during the Plantation of Ulster, people from Southern Scotland and Northern England arrived to colonize Irish lands. The settlers had a different culture, with the Scots colonizers having far stronger ties to their Gaelic roots compared to the Irish there. Today, names like MacGregor, MacLeod, and MacAllan still hold relevance in parts of Scotland and Ireland, with many involved in national societies, the production of liquor, and even parliamentary proceedings.
National Mac Day timeline
The descendants of Leòd, a Norse-Gaelic nobleman who ruled the Isle of Man in the thirteenth century, establish the Clan MacLeod on the lands of Harris and Skye.
Shakespeare publishes “Macbeth,” a play about a general who becomes the king of Scotland after receiving a prophecy from three witches.
On the television series “CSI: NY,” Gary Sinise plays Mac Taylor, an NYPD detective of Welsh ancestry.
Rapper Malcolm James McCormick, better known as Easy Mac, releases his debut album, “But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy.”
National Mac Day FAQs
Is Mac a biblical name?
No. Mac is a Gaelic baby name.
Is Mac a rare name?
It is not a rare name. Mac is a common surname, primarily in Scotland and Ireland.
How is Mc different from Mac?
Both names differ only in spelling and have the same meaning.
National Mac Day Activities
Enjoy some whisky
Having a glass of whisky is the best way to promote a Gaelic name day. Invite your friends over, tell them about the history of this name, and raise a toast in honor of your heritage.
Trace your family history
Every person with this surname is a descendant of one of the Gaelic clans. Enjoy tracing your ancestry; you might learn something interesting in the process.
Wear a tartan
Apart from bagpipes and Scotch whisky, tartans are one of the most prominent items of Scottish heritage. They’re also associated with Irish people. Wear yours with pride.
5 Interesting Facts About The Mac Name
The Apple’s mac computer
The Macintosh computer by Apple was initially named the McIntosh, after Apple Computers’ Jef Raskin’s favorite variety of apples; it, however, had to be altered due to legal issues.
The McDonald's fast-food franchise
This fast-food franchise was founded by brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, the sons of Irish immigrants.
The premium whisky clan
Clan MacGregor, a premium blended scotch whisky, honors the history of the MacGregor clan that dates back to the fourteenth century.
The name appears in movies
American actor and stand-up comedian Bernie ‘Mac’ McCullough portrayed an Irish character named ‘Paddy O’Malley in the movie “Charlie’s Angels 2.”
The MacGyver TV series
Angus MacGyver, the protagonist of the MacGyver TV series that aired in 1985, is revealed to be a descendant of a seventh-century Scottish man.
Why We Love National Mac Day
This name has a rich history
People with this name and surname now reside all around the world. This day has helped these people to learn about their Scottish and Irish ancestry.
This name has cultural diversity
Despite its Scotch-Irish origins, the name transcends different countries and communities. There are Mac names in America, Australia, and Wales. An interesting fact is that they are closely related to each other as they all belong to clans of the same community.
It is a short and sweet name
The name Mac is short and sweet. It’s a prefix, a nickname, as well as a surname. That’s why so many people with Irish and Scottish surnames prefer Mac or Mc.
National Mac Day dates