The 30 November is St Andrews Day, a day that celebrates Scotland’s patron saint, St Andrew.
Not a lot is actually known about St Andrew but it is believed that he was born between 5AD – 10AD in a place that is now known part of Israel.
According to Christianity, he went on to become one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. The disciples were 12 people chosen by Jesus to closely follow him. Andrew’s brother, Simon Peter, was also one of the disciples. They both lived in Galilee, where they were fishermen.
So why is he the patron saint of Scotland?
There is no one clear answer to that question. St Andrew never actually stepped foot in Scotland his whole life!
One story says that in the 9th Century, while King Angus of Scotland was preparing for a battle against the English, St Andrew appeared to King Angus in a dream promising him he would win and on the day of the battle, an x shaped symbol appeared in the sky (the symbol of St Andrew). He vowed that if Scotland won the battle, St Andrew would be made the patron saint of Scotland – and that is exactly what happened and why the Scottish flag has the X shaped cross on it, as it is St Andrew’s symbol.
Scot mythology claims that it goes back further than that. It claims that Scottish people are descended from an ancient population called the Scythians, who lived on the Black Sea, who St Andrew converted to Christianity.
St Andrew was officially named the patron saint of Scotland in 1320.
Other Parts of the world:
St Andrew is maybe best known as the Patron Saint of Scotland but did you know he is also the patron saint of Barbados, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Ukraine, Sarzana, Pienza and Amalfi in Italy, Esgueira in Portugal, Luqa in Malta, Parañaque in the Philippines and Patras in Greece.
How is St Andrew’s Day celebrated in Scotland?
Scottish people may celebrate St Andrew’s Day in different ways. There are also St Andrew’s societies all over the world, which mark the occasion in their own countries.
The day is a public holiday in Scotland and many people mark the occasion with a ceilidh – pronounced “kay-lee” – a Scottish party with traditional dancing, music, recitations and food.
St. Andrew’s Day also also marks the beginning of other winter festivals in sScotland such as Hogmanay and Burns Night.