The word "Tattoo" was adopted by British Army officers during the 1740s when they were based in Flanders, Belgium, during the War of the Austrian Succession. It is derived from the Dutch phrase "tap toe", used to order bar owners to turn off the taps of their beer kegs so that drunken soldiers could return to their barracks.
The Tattoo evolved into a ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed by military musicians. And in 1950, the first Edinburgh Military Tattoo was watched by 6,000 spectators on the Castle Esplanade. Now, almost 220,000 people watch the Tattoo over its three-week run, with around 30 per cent coming from Scotland, 35 per cent from elsewhere in the UK and 35 per cent from overseas.
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is staged in August during the Edinburgh International Festival, which includes the famous Fringe festival. There is a show each weekday evening and two on Saturdays. A Tattoo performance has never been cancelled due to weather.The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is televised in 30 countries and watched by 100 million people each year. It has raised more than £5million for military and civilian charities.
In 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth awarded the Edinburgh Military Tattoo its Royal title to mark its 60th anniversary. The event's patron is Princess Anne, the Princess Royal. So far, more than 30 countries have been represented at the Tattoo. Regular visitors include the Band and Drill team of The King's Guard of the Norwegian Army. In 1972 they adopted a penguin from Edinburgh Zoo as their regimental mascot.
The Tattoo is performed in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland, with 1.2 million visitors a year. The castle is said to be home to the ghosts of a headless drummer and a piper who plays on the battlements.
Over £6million worth of tickets are sold each year for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and every performance for the past 13 years has been a complete sell-out. The best source for tickets for the 2011 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is Ticket4Tattoo.com
The British adopted the practice and it became a signal, played by a regiment's Corps of Drums or Pipes and Drums each night to tavern owners to turn off the taps of their ale kegs so that the soldiers would retire to their billeted lodgings at a reasonable hour. With the establishment of modern barracks and full Military bands later in the 18th century, the term Tattoo was used to describe not only the last duty call of the day, but also a ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed by Military musicians.
Although the first Tattoo in Edinburgh, entitled "Something About a Soldier", took place at the Ross Bandstand at Princes Street Gardens in 1949, the first official Edinburgh Military Tattoo began in 1950 with just eight items in the programme. It drew some 6000 spectators seated in simple bench and scaffold structures around the north, south and east sides of the Edinburgh Castle esplanade. In 1952, the capacity of the stands was increased to accommodate a nightly audience of 7700, allowing 160,000 to watch live performances each year.
Military tattoo is a military drum performance. Tattoo nowadays also include the army displays more than just the drum performances. Tattoo was originally started in the seventeenth century when the British Army was fighting in the Low Countries. One of the best known Tattoo events is held on the Esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle each August. This palace forms the center piece of the annual Edinburgh Festival. The Norwegian Military Tattoo is internationally famous because of its quality and streamlined production. Norwegian Military Tattoo has been held every second year since 1994 in the capital of Norway, Oslo. Norwegian Military Tattoo was presented indoor, since 1996 in Oslo spectrum which are "tailor-made" for this kind of tattoo event. Royal Tournament tattoo is well-known Tattoo which was held annually in London from 1880 to 1999. Royal International Tattoo is the world's largest military air show, open to the public. Virginia Tattoo is the largest tattoo in the United State. Virginia Tattoo is held every year in Norfolk, Virginia. In Virginia Tattoo over 850 performers play traditional music and many international acts join every branch of the Armed Forces for a spectacular show. The indoor Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the largest annual indoor tattoo, featuring in 2007 over 2000 performers from around the world. The United States Air Force holds tattoos for many different events and celebrations, like base openings and closers, and special events like the 21st Annual Langley Tattoo.