In Pictures: St Andrews Day in Scotland

As St.Andrew’s Day celebrations kick off around the country, we take a look back at how Scots have honoured their patron saint

Knight of the Thistle procession to St Giles for the St Andrew's Day service in 1961.

The exact details of the life and times of our patron saint still remain unknown, but it hasn’t stopped people speculating.

To many he was a Galilean fisherman who became a disciple of Jesus and was crucified by the Romans. However, there’s still an air of mystery surrounding how he came to be Scotland’s patron saint. One of most significant theories states that in the 800s, Pictish king Angus MacFergus saw a saltire cross in the sky immediately before a battle, and took Saint Andrew as his patron from then on.

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It’s believed that St Andrew was crucified by the Romans on the 30th of November which is why the day is earmarked for celebrations of all things Scottish. St Andrew’s Day is a celebration of Scotland’s history and culture.

St. Andrew's Day procession at St Giles' cathedral in Edinburgh

The Scottish Parliament made St Andrew’s Day an official bank holiday in Scotland in 2007, although banks are not obliged to close and there is no mandatory day off for workers. The celebrations, therefore, are varied.

Celebration have involved traditional Scottish dress, Scottish dancing, poem recitals, and traditional foods such as haggis, neeps and cullen skink being served to revellers.

Crowds take to Scotland’s streets for St Andrew’s Day parades with pipers and Highland Terries spotted on Princes Street, Edinburgh.

Other parts of the country have come up with stranger ways to celebrate the day, one group of Scots in Dumbrae held an aqua-ceilidh to mark St Andrew’s day.

Edinburgh branch of saltire society - St Andrews Day Fair opened by Lady Kilbrandon

It’s not just those in Scotland who honour the patron saint, Eton College near Windsor mark the day with an annual St Andrew’s wall game, once played by Prince Harry.

In Barbados, St Andrew’s Day is also Independence Day, with a saltire on the Caribbean island’s coat of arms.

In Poland, Andrzejki is marked overnight between 29 and 30 November, with fortune-telling one of the main events. Hot wax is poured into water, and the shape of the wax once cooled can apparently predict who the pourer will eventually marry.

St Andrews Day March. Pipers from the Stockbridge Pipe Band (Edinburgh) lead the colourful St Andrews Day march along the capital's Princes Street Sat 29 Nov 2003
St Andrews Day March. A West Highland terrier (named Buffy) joins the Stockbridge Pipe Band (Edinburgh) as it gathers to lead a colourful St Andrews Day march along the capital's Princes Street Sat 29 Nov 2003
Broadcaster Jimmy Young (L) & Seamus McNeill playing the bagpipes (R) in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow to celebrate St Andrew's Day. 30/11/1973
St Andrew's Day celebrations 2014, St Andrews, Fife. Picture by Jane Barlow
Prince Harry pulls out an opposing player from the bully , as his team, the Oppidans drew 0-0 with the Collegers in the annual St. Andrew's Day Eton Wall Game, at Eton College, Berkshire, Saturday 24 November 2001. See PA story ROYAL Wall. PA photo: Toby Melville/SOLO ROTA
Aqua-ceilidh held to mark St Andrews Day in Drumbrae Leisure Centre (l-r) Jem Johnstone, Alisdair Gillies, Anna Tedesco, Bill Frier, Jennifer Maclennan, Jan Howlett
Lord Wemyss (left) presented each of the 300 soldiers at Glencorse with a sprig of lucky white heather to mark St Andrews Day 1993
The Queen looks at a statue of St Andrew at the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh on St Andrew's Day.