Among the bagpipes and the screams of war the Edinburgh military parade becomes an art form with no equals. At the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Parade participate, in fact, several military bands performing every night traditional music and dances and military marches of different kinds, just for the spectators' entertainment. Choreographies, light effects, colours, rhythm and coordination are all the essential elements for the good performance of the parade. In addition to the British Army, there are performances of the armies of other Commonwealth countries and, in recent years, also of armies from some other parts of the world. One of its kind, the Royal Military Tattoo is a prestigious event.
The origin of the name of this festival dates back to World War I, when the British army stationed in the Netherlands used to hear the drums of the Dutch Army announcing the end of the night for the soldiers. This evening parade was known as ‘doe den tap toe’ (pronounced tap-tu), a Dutch expression that literally means ‘close the taps.’
The parade was in fact the sign for the locals to stop serving beer to the soldiers so they could return to their homes at a decent time and be ready for battle the next day. Since then, the British army has adopted the practice of announcing the end of the soldiers' night with a marching band. The term Tap toe, then Tattoo, later went on to indicate a ceremony in which the army musicians performed. The festival as it is known today was celebrated for the first time in 1949 in the Gardens of Princes Street in Edinburgh, but it officially opened to the public only the following year with about 6000 viewers.
Since the 50s, the Military Tattoo is held at the Edinburgh Castle where large bleachers are mounted with a capacity of about 8600 people at a time. The imposing structure is built in about a month, and another month will then be used to disassemble it, but the effect is amazing. During the month of August, there are about 25 shows for as many as 200,000 viewers.
Since the year 2010, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been renamed The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The term "real" is a concession of Queen Elizabeth II for the 60th anniversary of the Festival since, in addition to being one of the most iconic and important military bands worldwide, it brings fame and prestige to the British army.
Also non-military performers come from all over the world to attend it: Jamaican dancers, American patriots, Canadian musicians among many others. Spectacular are also the fireworks and final shootings of the cannons at the closing of the ceremony.
It is estimated that around 100 million people in Scotland and around the world follow this international event every year and the BBC channel usually broadcasts its main night live in thirty different countries.
Scottish people come to the event every year and some get collectibles from the event on each occasion so they can have proof they have attended the festival.
It is indeed very prestigious to get a seat on the bleachers inside the castle because they are the best seats in the ’house.’