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St. Andrews Day

November 30

St. Andrews Cross

St Andrew has been celebrated in Scotland for over a 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 tied up in so much of Scotland. The flag of Scotland, the St Andrew’s Cross, was chosen in honour of him. Also, the ancient town of St Andrews was named due to its claim of being the final resting place of St Andrew.

In addition to Scotland, Andrew is the patron saint of Barbados, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. Saint 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. Saint Andrew died a martyr and was crucified on a saltire, or an “X” shaped cross, in Greece in 60 AD. 

There is a lot of folklore associated with St Andrew’s Day, particularly around young women, who hope to marry. At midnight, as November 29 becomes November 30, young woman prayed to be shown signs about their future husbands. They peeled an apple in such a way that the peel remained in a single piece and threw this over their shoulders. The shape that the peel formed on the ground indicated the first letter of their future husbands’ names. They also dropped molten lead or candle wax into a bucket of water. The shape that it formed indicated the profession of the men they would marry.

St Andrew’s Day is a public holiday in Scotland, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

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Date:
November 30
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