How St Andrew’s Day is celebrated around the globe

How St Andrew's Day is celebrated around the world
How St Andrew's Day is celebrated around the world
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THIS weekend, countries across the globe will honour St. Andrew with their own unique traditions, with activities ranging from fortune-telling to a festive accordian singalong.

The 30th November is not just an important date in the Scottish calender, it is a day for celebrations across the globe.

As we take this opportunity to celebrate the best of Scotland’s past and present, in parts of Eastern Europe St. Andrew’s day is traditionally associated with the future. Andrzejki, the night before St. Andrews, is a time for fortune-telling, and for unmarried women to foresee their marital future. One of the most popular Andrzejki activities is the pouring of hot wax through the hole of a key in to a bowl of cold water.

It is believed that the shape the wax takes will resemble the future partner of the beholder.

Other rituals involve a group of girls taking their shoes off, lining them up in single file and moving the line of shoes forward throughout the house until they reach the front door. Traditionally, the owner of the first shoe to cross the threshold will be the first to get married.

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Similar superstitions exist in some parts of Romania, where it is customary for young ladies to put 41 grains of wheat under their pillow before falling asleep. It is believed that if the young woman dreams of somebody stealing the grains, then she will be getting married in the coming year. Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, the baking of the Halusky is also said to divine marital future. Women write down several suitors names and place them in the dough. When the Halusky is baked, the first name to rise to the surface is the name of the man the woman will marry.

Though many traditions associate St. Andrew with fortune telling, in Barbados the 30th November means something entirely different, as it is celebrated as their national day of independence. In 1966, the Barbados Coat of Arms was unveiled, featuring the slogan ‘Pride and Industry’, and bearing two pieces of sugar cane in the shape of a Saltire. Independence in Barbados is celebrated as a national holiday, and events ranging from commuity gatherings to religious services run throughout the month of November.

St. Andrew’s festivals are also important events in Greece and Italy, where is it alleged that relics of the Saint remain. It is believed that remnants are housed at the St. Andrew Basilica in Patras, therefore a series of small local festivals are organised to celebrate this fact. Festivals would traditionally feature local food and drink, and are held each year in his honour. Meanwhile in Amalfi, where relics are also said to rest, St. Andrew’s statue is carried from the cathedral in procession through the streets.


Though countries the world over have their own traditions to tend to on the 30th, Scotland’s heritage is also a widely acknowledged. The number of people claiming to be of Scottish descent is currently standing at 50 million, and across the world Saint Andrew’s societies have been established, helping homesick Scots to celebrate in style. The most notable groups include The Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, which was found in 1756, The Saint Andrew’s Society of Montreal, founded in 1835, and the St Andrew Society of Russia, founded in 1993. So if you prefer grains in your whisky rather than under your pillow, these societies are in place to help keep Scottish traditions alive.

Whether the party is in celebration of the past or in anticipation of the future, festivities in honour of the popular patron will be happening all over the world this weekend, proving that the 30th November is a day for tradition, pride and most of all, fun.


Scotland will be celebrating this St. Andrew’s day in style, with hundreds of events ranging from carnivals to ceilidhs happening across the country. Here’s our brief guide to some of the best events across the country.

Night Time Spectacular

Edinburgh Castle

30th November, 7pm

In honour of Scotland’s national day, Edinburgh Castle are hosting an evening carnival. The night time spectacular will feature a contemporary dance performance, a light show and music from pipes and drums. But it’s not all bagpipes and floodlights, stories and myths surrounding St. Andrew will be told throughout the night.

Glasgow loves... St. Andrew’s Day

George Square

30th Novemeber, 6pm

Glasgow are feeling the love this St. Andrew’s day, and they are celebrating with a set from drum and pipe band Clanadonia. Afterwards, there will be a highland dance session, followed by a unique performance from Bags of Rock, a bagpipe group that fuse cutting edge rock music with Scotland’s national instrument.

St. Andrew’s Day Dinner and Eurolink Dance

Cartland Bridge Country House Hotel, Lanark

30th November, Time TBC

As guests dance to the live ceilidh band, there will be a live video link up to Moscow, Athens, Bucharest or Kiev. The idea is to celebrate St. Andrew’s day with revellers thousands of miles away - all whilst enjoying excellent music and food.

Torchlight procession and fireworks

Starts at undercover at Madras, South Street, St Andrews

30th November, 6:30pm

Where better to celebrate St. Andrew than St. Andrews? This procession through the town’s historic streets will be lit by Flamebeaux torches, which can be purchased in advance of the event from Byre.

St Andrew’s Celebration

Dalkeith Library

30th November, 7pm

As part of Book Week Scotland, this event will celebrate the best of Scottish poetry. Special guests include acclaimed local poet David Purdie.