St Andrew’s Day 2022: when is Scotland’s patron saint’s day, who was he and activities to celebrate

Saint Andrew’s Day, also known as the feast of St Andrew or, Saunt Andra’s Day, is celebrated in Scotland marking the country’s national day. The event honours Scottish culture and heritage and marks the beginning of the traditional Advent devotion to the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena.

With a long-standing history, we look into how St Andrew’s day is celebrated, and the history behind the day. Here is everything you need to know.

When is Saint Andrew’s Day?

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    Saint Andrew’s Day is an annual event always marked on 30 November. It is believed that Scotland’s patron saint was crucified on this date in AD 60. In Scotland, this day is a bank holiday, and it is also a national holiday in Romania – since 2015.

    st andrew’s day 2022: when is scotland’s patron saint’s day, who was he and activities to celebrate

    How is St Andrew’s Day celebrated?

    Scottish celebrations see a joyous occasion, with the national culture, music and food honoured. Dinners and ceilidhs held around the country, as well as masses celebrating the saint.

    People may cook traditional Scottish dishes such as neeps (turnip or swede) and tatties (potatoes), as well as haggis, Cullen Skink and Cranachan. Those who are feeling particularly patriotic may also wear their best tartan as a celebration of all things native to Scotland.

    For activities with family or kids, you could set up scottish nature walks, learn bits of the Gaelic Alphabet, or craft felt Scottish Terrier dogs.

    On St Andrew’s Day, the Scottish flag flies on Scottish Government buildings with a flagpole. Before 2002, the Scottish Government followed UK flag rules, flying the Saltire on St Andrew’s Day only.

    Once the regulations were updated, it was mandated that the Union Flag would be removed and replaced by the Saltire on buildings with only one flagpole. The Union Flag still flies at on St Andrew’s Day as it’s an official flag flying station for the British Army.

    Jesus and his twelve apostles at his last supper (Picture: Worldatlas.org)

    Jesus and his twelve apostles at his last supper (Picture: Worldatlas.org)

    Is St Andrew’s Day a bank holiday?

    It’s also a national day off in Scotland after the Scottish Parliament declared St Andrew’s Day a in 2007. If 30 November falls on a weekend, the next Monday is a bank holiday instead.

    While officially St Andrew’s Day is a bank holiday, banks aren’t required to close and employers are not required to give employees the day off as a holiday. The University of St Andrews is known for giving the day off to students, but this isn’t a rule.

    Who was Saint Andrew?

    A fisherman from Galilee, Israel, Saint Andrew was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, according to the Bible’s New Testament. He was called by Jesus to be one of his ‘fishers of men’ and gave up his life as a fisherman to follow Jesus and preach about his work.

    He is mentioned several times in the presence of Jesus in the new testament and is considered one of the most important disciples of Christ, along with his brother, Saint Peter (Simon Peter). Saint Andrew was at the Last Supper and also on the Mount of Olives where he asked Jesus about the signs of Jesus’ return at the “end of the age”.

    It is thought he then devoted the rest of his life to travelling on his boat, preaching in various countries about the work of Jesus. But St Andrew was killed by the Romans in 60 AD, for preaching about Jesus.

    He refused to be executed on the same shape of cross as Jesus as he did not feel worthy, and was instead put to death on a diagonal cross, which is what inspired Scotland’s national flag, the Saltire.

    Why is St Andrew the patron saint of Scotland?

    Relics of Saint Andrew were thought to have been brought to Scotland by Saint Regulus, a Patras monk, to the place now recognised as St Andrews, Fife. It is said Regulus received a message from God in his dreams, telling him to take some of Andrew’s remains to ‘the end of the earth’ and wherever he was shipwrecked he would bury them.

    Regulus was stranded on the coast of Fife with the kneecap, an upper arm bone, three fingers and a tooth of Saint Andrew, but they are not there today. The patronage of St Andrew then took place when Oengus II (King Angus) – a Scottish king of the picts in 832 AD – prayed to Saint Andrew to help his men succeed in battle and in return, he would make him the patron saint.

    Legend has it that on the morning of the battle, the Saltire appeared in a cloud formation about the battle ground and, despite being outnumbered in men, the Picts won. Angus believed this was due to Saint Andrew’s divine intervention and honoured his pre-battle pledge.

    The Scottish flag – a white Saltire on a royal blue background – is thought to symbolise the shape of Saint Andrew’s diagonal crucifix in white clouds against the sky.

    In the Declaration of Arbroath of1320, Scottish noblemen wrote to the Pope to ask for Scottish independence from England – claiming conversion back to Christianity through Saint Andrew. He became the official patron saint of Scotland that year.

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