Celebrated on the 30th November every year, St Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s national day, and bank holiday. Like the Negroni and Prince of Wales check, the precise origins of how St. Andrew became Scotland’s patron saint remain a little vague.
A fisherman from Galilee and one of the disciples of Jesus, it is thought that due to his status as the brother of Saint Peter, a leader of the early Christian church, he was deemed a fitting national symbol. Traditionally, Scots also claimed that they were descended from the Scythians who lived on the shores of the Black Sea in what is now Romania and Bulgaria and were converted by Saint Andrew.
Despite the fact that little is known of the man himself, St. Andrew has been pivotal in shaping not only Scottish society but the communities of numerous other countries around the world. Not everyone knows that he is also the patron saint of Romania, Greece, Russia, Barbados and more.
Typical St Andrew’s Day celebrations feature plenty of food, drink, music and dancing. It might include a special type of party called ceilidh – pronounced “kay-lee" - where people do Scottish country dancing. This is most prevalent in St. Andrews town, where festivities can often last an entire week. Naturally Edinburgh becomes a hub of cheer, but it’s not just in Scotland that people commemorate the occasion. Last weekend, in anticiptaion of today, the Caledonian Club, London, rolled out their red tartan carpet to welcome guests for a St. Andrew’s dinner, whilst the celebrations in Barbados are particularly poignant. This year’s St Andrew’s Day in the Caribbean island is doubly important in that it marks the removal of the Queen as head of state and the island becoming a republic, but still within the Commonwealth. Prince Charles is currently in Barbados formalising the republic.
However, the signature features of Scottish culture such as whisky and tartan are embraced and celebrated worldwide, hence their comprehensive inclusion by a myriad of non-Scottish luxury brands.