Happy St Andrew’s Day!
Saint Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s official national holiday. If 30th November falls on a weekend, the next Monday is a bank holiday instead.
In Scotland the day is also seen as the start of a season of Scottish winter festivals and celebrations, encompassing Saint Andrew’s Day, Christmas, Hogmanay and Burns Night. There are week-long celebrations in the town of St Andrews and in some other Scottish cities.
The day provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Scottish culture and traditional cuisine and dance.
Typical St. Andrew’s Day activities include plenty of food, drink, music and dancing, with festivities often lasting long into the night. Some traditional Scottish dishes to sample on St. Andrew’s Day include Cullen skink (fish soup), haggis, neeps and tatties (swede and potatoes) and Cranachan (a Scottish dessert made from cream, raspberries, oats and whisky).
Many Scots will celebrate tonight with a ‘wee dram of whisky’.
Who was St Andrew?
St Andrew has been celebrated in Scotland for over a thousand years, with feasts being held in his honour as far back as the year 1000 AD. However, it wasn’t until 1320 that he officially became Scotland’s patron saint.
Although St. Andrew is Scotland’s patron saint, he wasn’t actually born in Scotland. It is widely believed that Andrew started life as a fisherman before he became one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, along with his brother Peter. Andrew then travelled far and wide to spread Jesus’ teachings, which may be how he came to be known in Scotland, although he may never have set foot in the country himself.
The ancient town of St Andrews on the east coast of Fife in Scotland was named in his honour, as was the flag of Scotland, the St Andrew’s Cross.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met while they were students at the University of St Andrews.
St Andrews is also known globally as the “home of golf”. This is in part because of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, founded in 1754, which until 2004 exercised legislative authority over the game worldwide (except in the United States and Mexico). It is also because the famous Old Course of St Andrews Links (acquired by the town in 1894) is the most frequent venue for The Open Championship, the oldest of golf’s four major championships. Visitors travel to St Andrews in great numbers for several courses ranked amongst the finest in the world, as well as for the sandy beaches.
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of fisherman. He is also the patron saint of Romania, Russia, Barbados, San Andres Island (an island in the Caribbean Sea, politically part of Colombia) and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.