All you need to know about Saint Andrew’s Day


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What is Saint Andrew’s Day and when do people celebrate it?

Saint Andrew’s Day is also known as the Feast of Saint Andrew or Andermas. People all over the world annually celebrate this day on November 30. It is an official national day in Scotland, and since 2015 it has been a national holiday in Romania.

Saint Andrew’s Day marks the beginning of the traditional Advent devotion of the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena. People believe that the day originated from the reign of Malcolm III (1058-1093).

Who is Saint Andrew?

Saint Andrew is believed to have been born in Galilee, Israel between 5 AD and 10 AD while it was under the domain of the Roman Empire, and is the brother of Saint Peter and son of Jonah.

Both Andrew and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade and became “fishers of men” when Jesus called on them to be two of his 12 disciples.

These narratives record that Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, observed Simon and Andrew fishing and called them to discipleship.

Andrew features prominently within the narratives shared in the New Testament and ended up being of the most significant apostles following Jesus and embarking on missions.

Andrew was later crucified on an X-shaped diagonal Latin cross in Patris, also known as Saint Andrew’s Cross. He was crucified on an X cross at his own request, deeming himself unworthy to be crucified on a straight cross like Jesus was. People recorded his death as 30 November, 60 AD.

Why do people celebrate Saint Andrew in Scotland?

There is no definitive answer to this. But there exist a number of theories as to why people celebrate the apostle so widely in Scotland.

  • The first is that according to the legend of The Voyage of St Rule, Saint Andrew’s embarked on a perilous flight of St Rule (bishop of Patras, Greece) to the Scottish east coast. Pictish King Angus of Scotland built a monastery in St Andrews paying tribute to the St who later helped him to a winning battle against the Saxons.
  • Some have been led to believe that King Angus picked up a telepathic message from Saint Andrew who declared in a dream he would be able to help him gain triumph over the Saxons.
  • Others have been led to believe that King Angus prayed to Saint Andrew, promising him patronage if he was to help him fight off the Saxons.
  • Saint Andrew’s Saltire Cross has been ingrained in Scottish national symbolism ever since. But the ruler properly established him as Scotland’s patron saint in 1320 with the Declaration of Arbroath. King Robert the Bruce and Scottish barons went to Pope John XXI. They appealed about the reduction of English rule over Scotland. They also appealed for Scotland’s independence. It was then that Andrew became the patron for Scotland.

How do people celebrate this day?

The people of Scotland mark with a celebration of Scottish culture and traditional food and music. Also, the day marks the beginning of the winter season in Scotland, encompassing Hogmanay and Burns Night. There are week-long celebrations in the town of St Andrews and in some other Scottish cities.

However, with the pandemic in being, Scottish people have resorted to small or virtual parties. People celebrate the day with close family and friends at home and cook traditional food, such as Cullen skink – a type of fish soup – or lamb.

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