St Andrew’s Day 2023: 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.
A mosaic in a church in Chile portaying Saint Andrew.A mosaic in a church in Chile portaying Saint Andrew.
A mosaic in a church in Chile portaying Saint Andrew.

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.

When is St Andrew’s Day 2022?

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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.

Who is Saint Andrew?

According to Christian teachings, Saint Andrew was one of Jesus Christ’s 12 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 as the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, to Jesus.

However, 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.

How do we celebrate St Andrew’s Day?

Scotland celebrates the event with ceilidhs (traditional music and dance), concerts and Scottish food like haggis, neeps and tatties. Torchlight processions are also sometimes held, with 'Big Hoolie' events this place taking place in Dundee and (as you would expect) St Andrews.

The date is also significant in other countries with Scottish connections in the world like Barbados who mark their national day of Independence along with St Andrew’s Day.

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.

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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:



Spain (Tenerife)

Italy (Amalfi)

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