St. Andrew’s Day is known as Scotland’s national day. In the early part of the 21st century, Scottish Parliament dedicated this day to be an official national bank holiday.
St Andrew first became known as the official patron saint of Scotland in 1320 when the declaration of Scottish independence was signed. The connection to Scotland, for Andrew goes back to the legend that states that a part of his remains were kept at the place now known as St. Andrew. He is also known to be the patron saint of several other countries; Russia, Greece, Poland and a few others. Saint Andrew was a fisherman; he and his brother were part of the original twelve apostles of Christ who resided and worked in Galilee.
Some stories say that he traveled to Greece to spread Christianity, and was crucified there upon a cross shaped like an X. As is apparent by the diagonal cross, also known as a saltaire upon Scotland’s flag.
When Scotland was being formed as a nation, it is said that a Pictish king had a dream-like vision in which Andrew appeared. He had this vision the very night preceding a battle that took place in what is now the town of Athelstaneford in East Lothian! The story goes that upon the day of the battle an oddly shaped cloud showed up just above the battlefield in an X-like shape of a cross. The Pics were victorious that day and as a just tribute, decided to use this sign as the flag for their nation.
Scots these days, honor the day in the best they know how, Partying! There are quite a few ways Scotland celebrates, depending upon where one is located. Most areas, (the highlands included) have a ceilidh! This is a traditional Scottish folk dance; one that has been known to be quite rough! Much laughter is to be had during these celebrations for sure.
For some, once they have filled up on the American Thanksgiving, it’s on to continue to celebrate another holiday on November 30th; this is the “official” date when Scotland recognizes St. Andrew’s Day as a time to honor their country, its traditions—and its food. This day is known as the “feast day” and Scotland is known to produce some of the world’s best seafood; a seasonal fish dish can be a perfect choice for the evening menu. Indeed, many coastal regions in Scotland do find this a fitting gesture to honor the Patron Saint. Haggis is quite the traditional dish, as well as lamb; both quite appealing in pre winter months and also quite popular with Scots on this celebrated day. Additionally, the beef raised in Scotland is known to be some of the best in the world and yet another wonderfully versatile staple Scots enjoy when hosting the holiday dinner. The rich cream from the Scottish cows makes the most amazing desserts as well!