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Smile Day

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

~ Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, 1865

Curiouser and curiouser! Like the smile in the painting of the Mona Lisa, the Cheshire Cat's grin is one of the most memorable of smiles in literature and art! One of a series of Alice in Wonderland tartans, the Cheshire Cat tartan takes its colour and geometric inspiration from vintage book illustrations of this striped character who appears in the story to converse with Alice only to then fade away to just a toothy and distinctive mischievous grin. The expression "grinning like a Cheshire Cat" predates the Alice stories, and of the many fanciful stories purporting to explain the origin of this phrase and the inspiration for its inclusion in Lewis Carroll's famous story, the most charming involves cheese that was formerly sold in Cheshire which moulded like a cat that looked as though it was grinning. Allegedly, the cheese was generally cut from the tail end, so that the last part eaten was the head of the smiling cat! Artists have rendered the Cheshire cat in many colours, from ordinary browns, purple and pinks, and shades of blue. The bright band in this tartan suggests the famous grin, lingering as the rest of the striped cat fades away. ♥️ ♠️ 🐱 ♦️ ♣️ 😁 💙

RIDDLE: What kind of a cat can grin?
ANSWER: A Catenary.

 ~ David Day, Queen's Quarterly (2010)


World Smile Day is celebrated on the first Friday in the month of October every year. The idea of was coined and initiated by Harvey Ball, the commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts who created the iconic Smiley Face in 1963.  Apart from the ubiquitous smiley, other famous smiles include Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Caroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 


Designed by Carol A.L. Martin as part of her Alice in Wonderland tartan series, this tartan uses the colours of many classic interpretations of the Cheshire Cat in art. 

For a special tribute to all of Carol A.L. Martin's Alice in Wonderland tartans, click the Cheshire Cat.

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