St Andrew's Day 2021: how a fisherman became Scotland's patron saint

by 24britishtvNov. 30, 2021, 5 p.m. 22
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Where else is St Andrew the patron saint of?

St Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece, Russia, Romania, Amalfi in Italy and Barbados, where St Andrew's Day is celebrated as the national day of Independence on the Caribbean island.

As the patron saint of Barbados, St Andrew is celebrated in a number of Bajan symbols including the cross formation of the Barbadian Coat of Arms and the country's national honours system, which styles persons as Knights or Dames of St Andrew.

St Andrew is also the patron saint of the Order of the Thistle, one of the highest ranks of chivalry in the world and second only to the Order of the Garter.

He also keeps busy as the patron saint of fishmongers, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers, singers, spinsters, maidens, sore throats and gout.

November 30 also holds significance in other countries. In parts of eastern and central Europe, including Romania, Russia, Austria, Germany and Poland, the date is associated with single girls' future husbands.

In Romania, it is customary for young women to put 41 grains of wheat beneath their pillow before they go to sleep, and if they dream that someone is coming to steal their grains that means that they are going to get married next year.

Other traditions involve pouring wax through a keyhole into cold water, with the resulting shape determining a girl's future husband's profession.

November 30, 60AD is supposedly the date that St Andrew was crucified, which is why the patron saint's day falls on this date each year, although the bank holiday is on the following Monday if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.

However, it wasn't until the 18th century that celebrating St Andrew's Day became common in Scotland. And bizarrely the tradition didn't even start in Scotland, but in South Carolina in 1729 where a group of wealthy ex-pat Scots started the 'St Andrew’s Society of Charleston' because they were missing home.

The group became well known in the area for their charitable endeavours, helping the poor and needy and it was from here that St Andrew's societies began to spread around the world.

In 2006, St Andrew's Day was made a bank holiday in Scotland, and has traditionally been a day off for students of St Andrews University. While St Andrew's Day in Scotland and St Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland are bank holidays, St George's Day in England and St David's Day in Wales are not, which is usually a source of some frustration every year.

The day is usually marked by a celebration of Scottish culture, including dancing, food and music, and both the British Prime Minister and Scotland's First Minister give St Andrew's Day messages.

In 2020, many of the annual celebrations were not able to go ahead as planned amid the coronavirus pandemic but most returned as normal this year.

The Blas Festival, for example, took place across the Highlands between November 19 and 27, to celebrate the culture, music and language of Scotland through online lectures, concerts and workshops.

Other highlights include the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival, which runs from 26 to 30 November, and will see hundreds of artists and cultural organisations get together. It defines itself as a 'key component of a co-ordinated drive to boost social inclusion, fairness and sharing inspired by Scotland’s National Day'.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens also held a torchlight parade on November 27 that started with 90 minutes of entertainment including live music, fire performers and street theatre.

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