November is well and truly upon us. As it gets colder, and the evenings get darker, Scots across the world will soon be celebrating St Andrews Day with the warmth of good cheer and hospitality. However, with the continuing restrictions, much of the celebrations this year may be curtailed. Nevertheless, there may still be some ways to celebrate the day of our patron saint without the gatherings and ceilidhs.
Who was St Andrew?
It is believed that St Andrew was born between 5AD and 10AD in a region that is now part of Israel. According to the bible, he went on to become one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Andrew is said to have refused the T shaped crucifix and instead met his end on an X shaped cross on 30 November 60AD, and this why Scotland adopted the saltire as his symbol.
One story about how Andrew came to be the Patron Saint of Scotland goes like this:
In the 9th century, Scotland's King Angus was preparing to fight the English army. On the night before the battle, St Andrew appeared to King Angus in a dream, promising victory for Scotland. The King vowed that if Scotland were to win, St Andrew would be made the patron saint. However, it wasn't until 1320, when Scotland became an independent nation after the Declaration of Arbroath, that Saint Andrew became the nation's official patron saint.
St Andrew's Day
St Andrew's Day also known as 'Là Naomh Anndrais' in Scottish Gaelic, was not an annual event until the 18th century, and it didn't even start in Scotland! It gained prominence as a day of celebration in the USA when a group of Scottish immigrants in South Carolina set up the St. Andrew's Society of Charleston in 1729. Never a nation to pass on a party, it wasn't long before the residents of Scotland got in on the act.
Today, St Andrew's Day is an official bank holiday in Scotland and is a time to celebrate all that is Scottish. It is usually celebrated with a great feast, traditional recitations, music and of course, a lively ceilidh. Both the British Prime Minister and Scotland's First Minister will give St Andrew's Day messages. You'll never hear us celebrate our national pride louder than on the day of our patron saint. Well, perhaps, other than that time goalkeeper David Marshall saved a penalty that put us through to the Euro 2021 football finals, and really any other time Scotland scores a goal on the football field, a try on the rugby field, or wins a match point!
‘The mark of a Scot of all classes [is that] he…remembers and cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity … even to the twentieth generation.’ – Robert Louis Stevenson.
Unfortunately, the celebrations in 2020 may have to be a different affair, with continuing restrictions on social gatherings due to the continuing pandemic. But that doesn't mean we can't do our best to enjoy the day. Celebrating at home with traditional Scottish cuisines like Cullen Skink, Haggis, or a rack of Scottish lamb is sure to get you in the spirit. Maybe even hook up with friends and family on an online meeting.
Get Your Kilt On!
This year, the Fife Tourism Partnership is urging people across Scotland to join in the fun. The Get Your Kilt On campaign follows last year's success, which saw many get involved to drive greater awareness of Scotland's rich culture, heritage, and hospitality. You too can get involved by wearing your kilt or something else tartan and share your picture on social media using the hashtag, #GetYerKiltOn. Find out more here.
As always, if you want to take part and are looking for something tartan, you will find some wonderful Scottish attire and accessories in our shop.
Alternatively, if you don't have one, why not rent a kilt for the day.
Talk again soon.