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St Andrew’s Day ranks as one of three major dates during the winter period.
St. Andrew’s Day, celebrated on November 30 each year, is considered a national holiday in Scotland and across Europe. Known as the patron saint of Scotland, Romania, Greece, and many more European countries, St. Andrew was an apostle who not only introduced his brother, Peter, to Jesus but also helped Scottish King Oengus I win a crucial battle against Northumberland, securing Scotland’s safety. St. Andrew died a martyr and was crucified on a saltire, or an “X” shaped cross, in Greece in 60 AD.
HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW'S DAY
Quite simply, St. Andrew, an apostle of Jesus, is the patron saint of Scotland. Thus, Scots have celebrated Andrew for over a thousand years, with feasts being held in his honor as far back as the year 1000 AD. However, it wasn’t until 1320, when Scotland declared independence, that he officially became Scotland’s patron saint. Since then Andrew has become part of the country. The flag of Scotland, the St Andrew’s Cross, was chosen in his honor. Also, the ancient town of St Andrews was named due to its claim of being his final resting place.
But why is he so important to Scotland?
The New Testament refers to Andrew as being with Jesus on some very momentous occasions. For example, Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes, and when Philip wanted to tell Jesus about certain Greeks seeking Him, he told Andrew first. Andrew was present at the Last Supper; he was also one of the four disciples who came to Jesus on the Mount of Olives to ask about the signs of Jesus’ return at the “end of the age.”
Oddly enough — America plays a role in St. Andrew’s Day. A group of wealthy Scottish immigrants created the “St Andrew’s Society of Charleston” in South Carolina back in 1729. The organization’s actually the oldest Scottish society of its type in the world. It became famous throughout the region for assisting orphans and widows. Also, “The St Andrew’s Society of the State of New York” is the oldest charity of any kind registered in the state. Local Scotsmen, who were looking to help the poor and distressed, founded the group in 1756. From there, St Andrew’s societies have spread around the world.
St Andrew’s Day now ranks as one of three major dates during the winter period. Starting off Scotland’s Winter Festival each year on November 30, people across the country gather together to celebrate Andrew and share good times. The day is usually marked with a celebration of Scottish culture, including dancing, music, food, and drink, with parties going on until the early morning hours.
HOW TO OBSERVE ST. ANDREW'S DAY
Throw your own St. Andrew's feast
Gather your friends and feast on haggis, porridge, black pudding (ok, maybe leave that one out), and whisky! While you're at it, create some fun trivia about St. Andrew himself. Did you know he was a fisherman as well?
Wear a kilt
While it may not be a national holiday in America, we all can be Scots at heart. To celebrate St. Andrew's Day, wear a kilt, paint your face with a traditional blue saltire (better known as Scotland's flag), and call it a day!
Visit the town of St Andrews
If you're like us, then you're ready to book a one-way ticket to Scotland after learning how much fun it is to celebrate St. Andrew's Day. From November 30 to December 3, you can find the Scots celebrating across Europe, but it gets no better than in the town of St. Andrews itself, thanks to rolling landscapes, history, and tradition.
5 ODD ST. ANDREW'S EVE TRADITIONS YOU WON'T BELIEVE
Hiding grains to get a husband
In Romania it is tradition for young women to place 41 grains underneath their pillow, and if they dream their grains are stolen, then it's believed they will find a husband within the year.
How to guess your future husband's occupation
In Poland husbandless women believe they are able to predict their future husband's occupation by pouring hot wax through a keyhole into water — the wax forming to resemble the shape of their occupation.
The way to a man's heart is through food
In Slovakia young women write down the names of potential husbands on pieces of paper, kneading them into dough and baking; the first name to rise to the top of the bread will be their husband.
A curious way to get a girl's attention
In Moldova young men steal and hide gates or doors from the homes of the young women they wish to marry. In the morning the fathers' are tasked with finding their gates, thus knowing their daughter has a suitor.
One foot out of the door
In Austria young women throw a shoe over their shoulder; if it lands pointing towards the door they will be married within the year.
WHY ST. ANDREW'S DAY IS IMPORTANT
This celebration is cause for a feast
In Scotland and across Europe, people celebrate St. Andrew's Day by feasting! May we suggest whipping up a meal of traditional haggis, neeps, and tatties (turnips and potatoes), and topping it off with a glass of Scottish whisky — straight?
Kilts are fun
Do we really need a reason to wear a kilt? No. Do we want a reason to wear a kilt? Absolutely. To celebrate, grab yourself a traditional Scottish kilt and never look back!
Whisky — and lots of it
Since St. Andrew's Day is considered Scotland's national holiday, Scots go all out with weeklong festivals, parties, and more. You can find a glass of whisky or beer in just about anybody's hand during the celebrations!
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