St Andrew’s Day: Who is Saint Andrew and why does Scotland celebrate him?
Every year, Scots worldwide celebrate their patron saint, Saint Andrew, but some of us may not know who he is or why he is important to Scotland. So, here’s what you should know.
Also known as ‘Andermas’ or ‘the Feast of Saint Andrew’, St Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s official national day which commemorates the disciple of the New Testament within Christianity.
Similar to St Patrick’s Day in Ireland or St David’s Day in Wales, this national day brings together Scots and their families to celebrate Scottish culture with a variety of events. In fact, even Google has recognised this occasion with a special Scottish Google Doodle.
Here’s everything you need to know about St Andrew’s Day.
Who is Saint Andrew?
According to Christian teachings, Saint Andrew was one of Jesus Christ’s twelve disciples and St Andrew’s Day is our annual celebration dedicated to his legacy. The Bible teaches us that Andrew introduced Peter, his brother who is traditionally thought of as the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, to Jesus.
Andrew would meet a tragic fate as a martyr for his beliefs as Romans decreed that he be crucified. However, the apostle did not believe he was ‘worthy’ to die in the same manner as Jesus. Therefore, Andrew was crucified on a diagonal cross on November 30, 60AD, and this X-shaped cross is the symbol of Scotland’s Saltire flag which commemorates his final day.
By 1320, Saint Andrew was finally recognised as the patron saint of Scotland following the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath which refers to him as the “gentle Saint Andrew” who would be Scotland’s “patron for ever” - a title retained to this day.
When is St Andrew’s Day 2022?
St Andrew’s Day always falls on November 30, that means in 2023 it falls on a Thursday. On this day Scotland celebrates its patron saint, Andrew the Apostle, and the Saltire flag will be flown from all Scottish government buildings.
How do we celebrate St Andrew’s Day?
Scotland celebrates the event with ceilidhs (traditional music and dance), parades and Scottish food like haggis, neeps and tatties. According to The Scottish Sun, Glasgow will also have hundreds of pipe bands, punters and fire dancers coursing through the city’s West End for the St Andrew’s Day Torchlight Parade.
Is St Andrew’s Day a bank holiday?
St Andrew’s Day became officially recognised as a bank holiday by the Scottish Government in 2006, however, it is up to the institutions as to whether or not they wish to close on November 30.
Typically, if November 30 falls on a weekend then the bank holiday is moved to the following Monday or Friday.
Which other countries have Saint Andrew as their patron saint?
Scotland shares Saint Andrew as their patron saint with many other countries, cities, islands and other regions. Countries that have adopted him as their saint include:
Reportedly, Saint Andrew is also the saint of the Order of the Thistle which is among the highest ranks of chivalry in the world.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.