Although there is little confirmation as to how St. Andrew actually transformed to become Scotland’s patron saint, the figure is celebrated as one of the prime figures in Scotland to date. Various multiple theories indicate the importance of St Andrew; from relics belonging to St Andrew being brought to Scotland as early in the 4th century, and that these relics later became a special saintly destination for medieval pilgrims, to the Pictish King Angus MacFergus witnessing a saltire cross in the sky before a battle. Nevertheless, whatever the theory, one thing is clear: St Andrew’s Day is celebrated each year on the 30th of November, and has surely been absorbed by the Scottish culture and heritage.
History narrates that St. Andrew was made the official patron saint of Scotland at the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. Later, by 1390, Saint Andrew was printed on coinage for the first time. However, St Andrew is more known in history when he was crucified by the Romans on a diagonal cross on the day of November 30th, which today is marked as his day.
From generations to generations, St. Andrew’s Day has been celebrated vigorously. In 2007, the Scottish Parliament even made St. Andrew’s Day an official bank holiday in Scotland! But how does the world celebrate this auspicious day? Let’s have a look.
St. Andrew is not just a patron saint restricted to the lands of Scotland. In this regard, other major parts of the world also pay homage to this saint, such as Barbados and the Caribbean Islands.
Break a World Record:
The Majority of the St. Andrew’s Day celebrations in the Scottish capital revolve around the Grassmarket, with events and festivities commencing from the noon till late night. Live events, foods, drinks and carnivals: the day is completely fun-filled and thrilling. In all this fun, there are numerous world records that are being attempted, such as one named the ‘World’s Longest Strip the Willow’ during the outdoor ceilidh. St. Andrews Day is nothing short of celebrations, and what better way than to spend it by breaking a world record?
Story telling Traditions:
Scots are known for their storytelling and the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh has a family-friendly program lined up for this day. Kids and adults alike can join in for this amazing and inspiring story telling regime, which is a tribute to Scotland’s amazing stories and its fantastic food. On the other hand, if you aren’t up for simple story telling, why not go for the musical touch. There are a range of musical bands who come together to play traditional Scottish folk music, basically the Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection; all as a homage to St. Andrew.
Handicrafts and Soveniours:
St. Andrew’s Day is home to multifarious handicrafts and beautiful souvenirs, such as Indy Traders Craft & Vintage Market in Glasgow every year. Here, you will be able to find everything from handmade crafts, stylish clothes and handmade soaps to fine prints and vintage photography. In addition to this, there’s also face painting, a jewelry making workshop, and free food for the visitors. This is one place and event you certainly do not want to miss out on.
Scottish Gala Events:
Not in Scotland for St. Andrew’s Day? Across the world the decedents of Scots celebrate St. Andrew’s Day by holding Scottish Gala Events. Enjoy an evening of Scottish Traditional Music, Highland Dance and Scottish food. Or, enjoy some fine Scottish meats and liquors from your local shop and plan a night next to a roaring fire or outback in the firepit. Have some Robert Burns poetry nearby to read out loud to family and friends; and tune into your favorite Scottish music channel (may we suggest Highlander Radio!).
While St Andrews Day is considered a time to celebrate, there are also associated with it a range of other customs and traditions that have till today stood the test of time. Here are a few that are so interesting that they definitely mark the day even more eventful:
A Girl Wishing to Marry
Tradition has it that if a girl throws a shoe at a door or peels a whole apple without breaking the peel and then throw the peel over her shoulder, she will meet her match the very same year! Moreover, extension of this tradition is that if the peel formed a letter of the alphabet, then this suggested the name of her future groom! How interesting is that?
Testament in the Scottish Flag
The Scottish flag, the Saltire, contains the X-shaped cross on which St. Andrew was actually crucified on November 30th, 60 AD. History reveals that a St Andrew’s Cross was seen in the sky on the morning of a crucial battle in 832 AD between the Picts and the Angles. The Picts were inspired by the appearance of this symbol, and once declared victorious in their battle, they regarded it as a doing of St. Andrews! Today, St Andrews Day is taken as Scotland’s National Day as well. The Saint is placed high on a pedestal in the Scottish regime, as is evident by the plethora of traditions and customs, coupled with the never ending colorful celebrations. November 30th witnesses the whole of Scotland united and glorious; as a tribute to the sacrifices and personality of St. Andrew! Whether you are in Scotland or abroad, take some time on November 30th to learn and celebrate Scotland’s Patron Saint through food, history and music.