Topic: Family Life

Ross, our Public Relations and Engagement Executive, shares with us the history of St Andrew’s Day, and how his Scottish family will be celebrating this year…St Andrew's Day 2016

St. Andrew’s Day marks beginning of Scottish winter festivals.

November 30th may not necessarily be a date that springs out at many of us during the calendar year. But on that given day at venues scattered throughout the land, thousands of Scots from near and far will come together to commemorate their very own patron saint—Saint Andrew.  

St Andrew’s Day undoubtedly comes with a feast of Saltire tradition, often viewed as beginning a season of Scottish winter festivals—namely Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve to most, followed by Burns Night in late January.

Although originating in Scotland, where it is now a national holiday, St Andrew’s Day is a celebration for everyone. Parties and celebratory evenings the night of regularly feature bagpipes, traditional dance, an array of tartan and of course some of the finest Scottish cuisine.

The famous Saltire Cross which now makes up the Scottish flag originates directly with Saint Andrew. During the Battle of Athelstaneford in 832AD, King Angus of the Picts was said to have seen a vision of the Saltire in the sky, prior to leading his men to victory over the large Saxon Army. The king was said to have claimed the cross as inspiration.  It later became a trademark worn by soldiers in the Scottish army, officially mentioned in the Acts of Parliament from July 1385. It is also said of Saint Andrew himself that he assisted William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce during times of national emergency.

My St. Andrew’s Day this year will consist of very much the same as in years gone by. My mother and I will lead our highland dancing school in a trademark display, equipped with traditional music, more than likely ending with our own edition of “Auld Lang Syne” accompanied by family, friends and loved ones.

I’ll undoubtedly speak for most Scots when stating that all are welcome to join in the festivities. Then in a year from now, haste ye back.