St. Andrew’s Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

St. Andrew’s Day is annually celebrated on 30th November. This day is the feast of the Andrew the Apostle. Saint Andrew is the disciple in the New Testament who introduced his brother, the Apostle Peter, to Jesus, the Messiah. 

Today, this day is considered a national holiday in Scotland and across Europe. Known as the patron saint of Scotland, Romania, Greece, and many more European countries. 

The reason for which he is regarded very highly in Scotoand because 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. 

Event St. Andrew’s Day
Date November 30, 2022
Day Wednesday
Significance The day is national holiday in Scotland
Observed by Scotland

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St. Andrew’s Day History: 

The name “Andrew” (meaning manly, brave,comes from Greek), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews and other Hellenized people of Judea. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. Andrew the Apostle was born between 5 and 10 AD in Bethsaida, in Galilee. The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, and likewise a son of Jonah. “The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present.” 

Little is known about the life of St Andrew. A fisherman from Galilee – whose name in Greek means ‘manly’ – he was among the first of Jesus Christ’s 12 apostles along with his brother Peter. 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.” 

Around AD 60, Andrew was martyred by the Romans in the Greek city of Patras. Legend has it that he requested to be crucified on a X-shaped cross, or saltire, because he did not feel worthy to be executed on the same shaped cross as Jesus. That became known as the Saint Andrew’s Cross and a symbol of Scotland in the medieval period. Legend has it that St Regulus (also called Rule), a fourth-century monk in Patras, was told by an angel to hide some of Andrew’s bones. He took them from their resting place in Constantinople, of which Andrew was also patron saint, and sought to place them at the ends of the earth, eventually being shipwrecked on the coast of Fife, at the Pictish royal centre of Cennrígmonaid (later renamed St Andrews). 

From a regional, minority cult, St Andrew gradually became the spiritual father of all of Scotland. This was officially recognised in 1286, when he appears on the seal of the Guardians of Scotland – the regents after the death of King Alexander III – framed by his diagonal cross and surrounded by the words: Andreas dux esto Scotis compatriotis (‘Andrew be leader of the Scots, your fellow countrymen’). St Andrew became a protector of Scots, and an (honorary) Scotsman himself. Association with the Scottish cause in the late 13th and early 14th-century Wars of Independence only cemented his status, turning him into a powerful national symbol. The 1320 Declaration of Arbroath officially named Andrew as patron saint. 

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. 

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St. Andrew’s Day Significance: 

Andrew is the patron saint of several countries and cities, including Barbados, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Ukraine, Sarzana, Pienza and Amalfi in Italy, Esgueira in Portugal, Luqa in Malta, Parañaque in the Philippines and Patras in Greece. He was also the patron saint of Prussia and of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He is considered the founder and the first bishop of the Church of Byzantium and is consequently the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Apostle Andrew is also the patron of the Russian Navy. 

The flag of Scotland (and consequently the Union Flag and those of some of the former colonies of the British Empire) feature Saint Andrew’s saltire cross. The saltire is also the flag of Tenerife, the former flag of Galicia and the Russian Navy Ensign. The Confederate flag also features a saltire commonly referred to as a St Andrew’s cross, although its designer, William Porcher Miles, said he changed it from an upright cross to a saltire so that it would not be a religious symbol but merely a heraldic device. The Alabama flag also shows that device.

St Andrew has been celebrated in Scotland for over one thousand years, with feasts being held in his honour as far back as the year 1000 AD. However, it wasn’t until 1320, when Scotland’s independence was declared with the signing of The Declaration of Arbroath, that he officially became Scotland’s patron saint. Since then St Andrew has become an integral part of Scottish society. The flag of Scotland is the saltire, also known as St Andrew’s Cross, and the ancient town of St Andrews was named due to its claim of being the final resting place of St Andrew. 

A local superstition uses the cross of Saint Andrew as a hex sign on the fireplaces in northern England and Scotland to prevent witches from flying down the chimney and entering the house to do mischief. By placing the Saint Andrew’s cross on one of the fireplace posts or lintels, witches are prevented from entering through this opening. In this case, it is similar to the use of a witch ball, although the cross will actively prevent witches from entering, whereas the witch ball will passively delay or entice the witch, and perhaps entrap it. 

With so many different connections to the country, it’s worth considering how  St Andrew came to be so important to Scotland. The answer is surprisingly simple, and sums up some of the most prominent characteristics that you can find in Scots both at home and abroad. He has struck a chord with the Scots for thousands of years and anyone who has visited Scotland can vouch that his spirit is still alive here today. If you’re lost, many Scots are happy to point you in the right direction. In fact, Scotland is known around the world for its incredibly warm welcome and friendliness and thus are pretty much following the lead shown by him. 

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St. Andrew’s Day Celebrations: 

Saint Andrew’s Day marks the beginning of the traditional Advent devotion of the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena. Saint Andrew’s Day (Scots: Saunt Andra’s Day, Scottish Gaelic: Là Naomh Anndrais) is Scotland’s official national day. It has been a national holiday in Romania since 2015. He is the patron saint of Cyprus, Scotland, Greece (City of Patras), Romania, Russia, Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, San Andres Island (Colombia), Saint Andrew (Barbados) and Tenerife (Spain). 

The celebration of Saint Andrew as a national festival among some social strata and locales is thought to originate from the reign of Malcolm III (1058–1093). It was thought that the ritual slaughter of animals associated with Samhain was moved to this date so as to assure enough animals were kept alive for winter. But it is only in more recent times that 30 November has been given national holiday status, although it remains a normal working day. 

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. 

The celebrations of this day is incomplete without a feast. So gather some of your friends and feast on haggis, porridge, black pudding (ok, maybe leave that one out), and whiskey! As these are some of the traditional food associated with this day. While you’re at it, create some fun trivia about St. Andrew himself. Did you know he was a fisherman as well? 

If you like travelling and want to experience this festival then you should become 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. 

Most Searched FAQs on St. Andrew’s Day: 

1. When is St. Andrew’s Day celebrated? 

St. Andrew’s Day is annually celebrated on 30th November. 

2. Is St. Andrew’s Day a public holiday? 

This is considered Scotland’s National Day. This patron saint day was declared a bank holiday in 2006 by the Scottish Parliament although banks are not required to close if they do not wish to. 

3. Why do we celebrate St. Andrew’s Day? 

St Andrew’s Day is the feast day of Andrew the Apostle and is celebrated every year in Scotland on the 30 November. In 1320, St Andrew officially became the patron saint of Scotland when the country’s independence was declared with the signing of The Declaration of Arbroath.

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