St Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s national day and is celebrated each year on 30th November. Learn more about this Scottish tradition.

History

St Andrew was one of the twelve Apostles, Christ’s first disciple and St Peter’s brother. He lived in Galilee (Israel) and was a fisherman. He was well-known for his good social skills and brought the first foreigners to meet Jesus. He is the patron Saint of Scotland but also Greece, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.

St Andrew was an inspired choice and became a national symbol to motivate the country as it was slowly becoming a nation. With St Andrews as Scotland’s Patron, the Scots could appeal to the Pope for protection against the attempts of English kings to conquer the Scots.

According to a legend, the town of St Andrew was built over the relics of St Andrew brought by a monk called Regulus. The cathedral became a place of religious pilgrimage.

St Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross on 30th November 60 AD which later became the symbol of the Scottish flag, the Saltire. An old story tells that the cross was seen in the sky on the morning of a major battle in 832AD between the Angles and the Picts who were inspired by the symbol and won the battle.

In 2006, St Andrew’s day was designated as an official bank holiday in Scotland.

Traditions

In Scotland and around the world, St Andrew’s Day is mainly celebrated with traditional Scottish food, music (bagpipes) and dance. It is also seen as the start of the season of Scottish winter festivals including Hogmanay and Burns night and often coincides with the opening of Christmas markets. Traditional Ceilidh dancing usually takes place in Edinburgh for a week, where couples dance in circles or sets. Larges parties are also held in Glasgow.

Take advantage of St Andrew’s Day to go out with your family as there are fantastic offers including 2 for 1 and free events in museums. Restaurants, cafes and bars across Scotland with an EatScotland accreditation also provide sumptuous culinary delights and offer special menus.

Will you be celebrating St Andrew’s day?