Every 30 November, the people of Scotland and around the world celebrate St. Andrews Day. This day, also called the Feast of Saint Andrew or Andermas, is the feast day of Andrew the Apostle. This event pays tribute to their country’s patron saint, Saint Andrew. But who was St. Andrew, and why is he so important in Scottish culture? This article delves into this celebration’s history and significance to unravel what has become a symbol of national pride for Scots.
The history of St. Andrew
Saint Andrew was a disciple of Jesus Christ, one of his twelve apostles, and the brother of Saint Peter. Born in Bethsaida on the eastern coast of the Sea of Galilee, he was a fisherman by trade before being called upon by Jesus to become one of his messengers.
According to legend, St. Andrew was martyred in Greece for his faith. He was tied to an X-shaped cross with rope to prolong his suffering. This cross became known as the Saltire or St. Andrews Cross – a significant symbol for modern-day Scotland.
Connection to Scotland
The story of St. Andrew’s connection to Scotland goes back over a thousand years when relics belonging to him were brought over from Constantinople (now Istanbul) by a pious monk named St. Regulus (also known as St. Rule). The relics ended up in Fife, where they were stored in what became known as the city of St. Andrews – now famous for its university and golf courses.
It is believed that during a significant battle against the English in 832 AD, a vision appeared to Angus Mac Fergus – the King of Dalriada – showing him the Saltire cross in a blue sky, symbolising St. Andrew’s presence and protection during the fight against their invaders. Since then, Scottish soldiers began displaying this symbol on their shields whenever they charged into battle.
Nowadays, on St. Andrews Day, the people of Scotland and those of Scottish descent come together to embrace and honour their shared heritage. The day is marked by various events such as ceilidhs (traditional Scottish dance parties), whisky tastings, musical performances, feasts, parades, and displays of traditional Scottish attire – including kilts and tartan.
By celebrating St. Andrews Day, Scots remain connected to their history, commemorating their conversion to Christianity and the role of Saint Andrew in shaping their nation’s identity. The Saltire flies proudly on this special day as the ultimate symbol of Scottish pride.
St. Andrews Day is a time for the Scottish people to reflect on and remember their roots while celebrating their vibrant culture. It is a tribute to the patron saint who helped shape Scotland into what it is today. So, each 30 November, be sure to raise your glass – whether filled with whisky or Irn-Bru – and toast to Saint Andrew and the unique heritage he represents for Scotland’s proud people.
St Andrews Day in Barbados
Saint Andrew’s Day is recognised as Barbados’ national Independence Day. Saint Andrew, the patron saint, is featured in several Barbadian symbols like the cross on the Coat of Arms and the previous Order of Barbados, which granted people the title of Knight or Dame of St Andrew.