Monday, September 28, 2009

Scotland: St. Andrews Day . . .

In Venice, there was the Festa della Salute. In Madrid, there was the Fiesta de la Almudena. And hold on to your seats, in Scotland I will be there during their Annual Saint Andrew's Day Celebration. (Learn more on the St. Andrew's Day Official Gateway to Scotland Website)

The story behind this special feast day goes as follows . . .

"Saint Andrew was one of Jesus's original disciples, the brother of Simon Peter and a fisherman by trade, who lived in Bethsaida in Galilee (in present-day Israel.) He is believed to have been martyred at a place called Patras in Greece, crucified by a Roman governor on an X-shaped cross that was to become the inspiration for the cross that forms the Saltire, Scotland's national flag.

His bones were entombed until, 300 years later, the Emperor Constantine the Great decreed they should be moved to his new capital city of Constantinople, modern day Istanbul in Turkey. Legend has it that before Constantine's orders could be carried out a monk, who was either Greek or Irish and called St Rule or St Regulus, was warned in a dream.

An angel told him to take what bones he could to the "ends of the earth" for safe-keeping. The monk obeyed and set out on an epic journey that ended when he was shipwrecked off the east coast of Scotland and washed ashore with his precious cargo.

He found himself at a settlement that was soon to become known as St Andrews." ~ Geocities

It was only after Robert the Bruce's famous victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 that St Andrew was officially named patron saint of Scotland and the Saltire became the national flag of Scotland in 1385.

I learned about this history and stumbled onto this special feast day of celebration when I learned that this year marks the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth (a Scottish poet and lyricist - Wikipedia). This is the inspiration behind the year of the Homecoming where many events throughout the year are held to celebrate his life and work. It turns out that among the events being held is the special Finale Week of activities to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Andrews.

There will be music, free entry to many sites (listed here on the Historic Scotland Website) and there will be several special events planned for the week that I will be in Edinburgh before flying home! Yippee!

I found this important bit of Scottish history so interesting. I am not Scottish but I am going to totally enjoy celebrating along with the Scottish people their heritage and this important day of celebration.


  1. Kathy, you sure do have good luck with timing; it's so wonderful to get to participate in local celebrations like this one. I knew that St. Andrew was the patron saint of Scotland but didn't know the history behind it - very interesting. I look forward to reading all about what it's like and seeing your photos.

    I'm sure this makes you even more excited about your trip!

  2. Hi Annie, this is definitely the fun part of the trip planning stage. Learning about the traditions, history, etc. I'm learning how the Scots have a lot of pride in their culture. I almost think our July 4th Independence Day is similar to the year of Homecoming celebrations. We celebrate everything that is and defines being American and their homecoming seems to celebrate everything that is and defines being Scottish.

    I think it is cool and I am looking forward to observing and maybe even hopefully participating in some of the celebrations.

    Thanks so much for your comments Annie. Have a great day!

  3. Kathy, what perfect timing you have! I'm sure this will be a highlight of your trip.

    I didn't know much about St. Andrews until now. Loved reading the historical notes on how he became the patron saint of Scotland and about the Scottish flag. Very interesting.

    Have a great day! ;)

  4. Hi Maria, thank you. I too can't believe my luck. I did not know that about St. Andrew being the Patron Saint for Scotland and found it interesting too. I love celebrations and traditions like this. It's all very interesting and exciting to learn about these things.

    Thanks again and hope you are having a great day today!

  5. How great is that! Hope you have a wonderful time. In England, I ran into some people with a Scottish accent - thought of how you would be hearing this soon too!

    Thanks for sharing this with us. m

  6. Hi M, welcome back! I'm really looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I'm sure it was wonderful. Yes I think the Scottish accent is so cute and I'm going to love hearing it soon .

    Have a great day today and welcome home!

  7. Excellent timing, Kathy -- it sounds as if you'll be there at really interesting time.

    I didn't know how it was the Andrew came to the patron saint of Scotland, very interesting!

    Where I grew up, there was a large Scots population so every year my hometown had a huge Robbie Burns night feast (with haggis, of course) He was an interesting character and I'm sure you'll hear a lot of his poetry!

    In his delightful poem, To A Mouse, he wrote the famous line: "...The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men," that Steinbeck used for his famous novel Of Mice and Men!

  8. Hi Sandra, yes I think I will be there during an interesting time.

    That's a really cool quote from one of his poems. Maybe I'll check out some of his poems before I leave. I saw on a Youtube video that he spent some time on the Island of Skye and wrote about it. When I think of it, Scotland with it's beautiful landscapes and lochs almost seem poetic to me. I decided to spend 4 nights there in a pretty hotel just above the town of Portee and it has a great view of the mountains and harbor. Maybe I'll feel inspired too . . .

    Thanks so much for that cool quote and for your comments Sandra and have a great day today!

  9. Lucky you! How cool and free places to visit also! Interesting story about the special feast.

    We have a very famous St. Andrews church in Honolulu. I wonder if it was named after the same Saint Andrew. I am guessing there probably is only one Saint Andrew so it probably was. Some of the scenes of Lost have been filmed at or inside this church.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.