Celebrating St Andrew's Day

St Andrew's Day

Celebrating St Andrew’s Day

On 30th November each year, Scotland has a bank holiday to celebrate St Andrew’s Day. This special day, Là Naomh Anndrais in Scottish Gaelic, is celebrated by many Scottish people. We’ve got some great information about Saint Andrew and his relationship with Scotland for you to share with your class. Read on to find out more…

Who Was Saint Andrew?

Saint Andrew was a Galilean fisherman before he and his brother Simon Peter became disciples of Jesus. As well as being the patron saint of Scotland, Greece, Russia, Romania, and Barbados, Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of fishermen. He was crucified by the Romans on an X-shaped cross.

Why is Saint Andrew so important in Scotland?

Legend has it that a Greek monk called St Regulus was ordered in a vision to take relics of Saint Andrew to the ‘ends of the earth’ for safe keeping. Therefore, he set off on a sea journey and eventually came ashore on the coast of Fife at a settlement which is now know as the town of St Andrews.

In 832 AD, Saint Andrew is said to have appeared in a vision to a Pictish king the night before a battle against the Northumbrians. On the day of the battle, a Saltire, an X-shaped cross, appeared in the sky above the battlefield and the Picts were victorious. Reflecting this event, the white Saltire on a blue background now makes up Scotland’s national flag.

Saint Andrew was first recognised as patron saint of Scotland in 1320, at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath. This was an appeal to the Pope, asserting Scotland’s independence from England during the ongoing war between Edward I of England and Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce).

Find out more about how Saint Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland here.

How is St Andrew’s Day Celebrated in Scotland?

Saint Andrew’s Day is marked with a celebration of Scottish culture with traditional Scottish food, music and dance. For example, some might mark St Andrew’s Day by going to a ceilidh where they have Scottish country dancing. In addition, traditional food may be eaten, like cullen skink – which is a type of fish soup – or lamb. It is also seen as the start of a season of Scottish winter festivals. This encompasses Saint Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay (31st December) and Burns Night (25th January). There are week-long celebrations in the town of St Andrews and in some other Scottish cities.

St Andrew’s Day Classroom Activities

  1. Why not discover how other countries with Saint Andrew as their patron saint celebrate him? How does this contrast with festivities in Scotland? You can find out more here.
  2. You can find lots of St Andrew’s Day activities, including craft ideas, puzzles and colouring pages, on the Activity Village website here.
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