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St Andrew's Day

When is Saint Andrew’s Day?

Saint Andrew’s Day is celebrated on 30th November. It is a bank holiday in Scotland and if the date falls on a Saturday or Sunday the bank holiday is moved to the following Monday.

St Andrews Day - the Saltire

What is Saint Andrew’s Day?

Saint Andrew’s Day is the feast day of the patron saint of Scotland. Andrew was born between 5 AD and 10 AD and both he and his older brother Simon Peter were disciples of Jesus Christ. Andrew lived in Galilee where he was a fisherman: humble, kind, compassionate and generous.

Saint Andrew’s Day is marked with a week-long extravaganza showcasing Scotland’s heritage, culture and delicious food. There are performances of music, dancing, poetry and exhibitions of art; food markets serving the very best of locally made food and drink; and free admission for visitors at some of Scotland’s finest historic places.

St Andrew's Day - Scottish Dancing

In recognition of the kindness and generosity of both the saint and the people of Scotland, many of the week’s events are in support of good causes and people are encouraged to perform acts of kindness.

As you might expect, the town of St Andrews celebrates in an exceptionally big way, beginning the week with a ceremonial parade through the streets led by a mass of pipers and drummers. Crowds follow the procession, marching behind the band and waving the Scottish flag.

Why is Saint Andrew’s Day on 30th November?

30th November is believed to be the anniversary of Saint Andrew’s martyrdom in Greece in AD 60. He was crucified on a ‘saltire’ or X-shaped cross at his own request because he considered himself unworthy to die on a cross like Jesus. The saltire has become his symbol.

When was Saint Andrew’s Day first celebrated?

Although Saint Andrew has been patron saint of Scotland since 1320 or possibly even earlier, his feast day was not commonly celebrated until the 18th century, when a Scottish community in the USA decided to celebrate their Scottish roots. Even then it was not widely celebrated and indeed, a survey in 2001 showed that only 22 percent of Scots knew the date of Saint Andrew’s Day.

However, the day has quickly gained recognition. In 2007 it became a bank holiday and today it is widely known as the first of Scotland’s three winter festivals, taking its place before Hogmanay at New Year and Burn’s Night in January. The three winter festivals are celebrated in Scotland and by Scottish communities throughout the world.

Interesting facts about Saint Andrew’s Day

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