St. Andrews Day? – How To Celebrate St Andrew’s Day in Scotland
Even though Scotland shares Saint Andrew with Greece, Russia, Amalfi, and Barbados, the people of Scotland celebrate their saintly icon on November 30 in a way that is uniquely theirs. So, when the leaves of autumn fall to the ground and the wind gets colder, the Scots honor their national saint by showing more of their famous good cheer and hospitality to welcome the winter season.
Who is Andrew the Apostle? Saint Adrew
Christian teachings say that Saint Andrew was one of the twelve people who followed Jesus Christ. He and his brother Simon Peter, who is now revered as the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, were fishermen in Galilee, which is now Israel, when they met Jesus Christ and became his first followers. Andrew, like Jesus, was eventually killed for his beliefs, but it is said that he refused a T-shaped cross because he didn’t think he deserved to die in the same way as Jesus Christ. Instead, he was put to death on an X-shaped cross in Greece on November 30, 60 AD. This became his symbol, and the last day of November is now known as his saint day.
Some time after he died, his kneecap, arm bone, and finger bone made their way to Scotland. In one religious story, an angel told Saint Rule to take some of Saint Andrew’s relics and sail west. Wherever he shipwrecked, Saint Rule was to build a church. In fact, Saint Rule’s ship ran aground in Kilrymont, a small village on the coast. Kilrymont was later renamed St. Andrews and became an important Christian pilgrimage site.
In 1318, St. Andrews Cathedral was built to hold the reliquary, but the Scottish Reformation destroyed both the cathedral and the relics. To make up for this loss, the Archbishop of Amalfi gave Scotland a piece of Saint Andrew’s shoulder blade. This way, Scotland will always have a piece of the saint.
St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen, fishmongers, singers, and pregnant women. He is known for being kind and helpful, and it is said that he can protect people from sore throats and gout.
How do Scots celebrate St. Andrews Day?
Ironically, Scotland’s patron saint probably never set foot on its shores while he was alive, but Scots have been feasting and partying in his honor since 1000 AD. When the Declaration of Arbroath made Scotland an independent country in 1320, he became the official patron saint of the new country.
But Saint Andrew’s Day didn’t become an annual event until the 18th century. The tradition started in the United States, when a group of wealthy Scottish immigrants in Charleston, South Carolina, set up the St. Andrew’s Society of Charleston in 1729. They did this to connect with their Scottish roots and spread Saint Andrew’s charitable ideas. Not only did they start the tradition of celebrating on November 30, but they also became known in the area for helping widows and orphans. Soon, Scottish societies like theirs were set up all over the United States.
Scotland wasn’t too far behind their American relatives in that they never missed a good party. Saint Andrew’s Day is now an official bank holiday in Scotland, and the whole country usually throws a big party to celebrate Scottish culture, with traditional songs, food, and, of course, a lively ceilidh.
There will be different events and customs in different parts of Scotland to honor Saint Andrews. In East Lothian, for example, the Saltire Festival is held every year to celebrate Scotland’s rich arts and sports history. It includes a 10K night run, a golf tournament, craft workshops, and traditional music performances.
As a tribute to Saint Andrew’s kindness, Glasgow holds a spectacular torchlight procession through the city’s West End. All of the money raised goes to charity. In the north, the Oban Winter Festival is another annual community event that celebrates Scottish culture on Saint Andrew’s feast day. There is a whisky festival, haggis tastings, and traditional Gaelic and Scots music.
So, wherever you are on November 30, raise a glass to Saint Andrew and to the richness and kindness of Scottish culture everywhere.
Topic: What Is St. Andrews Day? – How To Celebrate St Andrew’s Day in Scotland?
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By: Travel Pixy