St Andrew’s Day 2018: Who was the patron saint of Scotland?

Scotland will enjoy a bank holiday this weekend in honour of St Andrew’s Day.

Whilst it is unlikely Scotland’s patron saint ever actually visited the country, its citizens have been celebrating St Andrew’s Day for centuries.

But who actually was St Andrew? Here’s everything you need to know.

Who was St Andrew and why is he the patron saint of Scotland?

St Andrew was born in the biblical village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee in between the years 5AD and 10AD.

He was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples and was as a fishermen in Galilee. Andrew was a Christian preacher and is thought to have travelled to Greece on a Christian mission. However when there, he is believed to have been killed by crucifixion, on a diagonal cross-shaped crucifix at Patras.

His links to Scotland are unclear, but one particularly well-known story centres on St Andrew’s role in battle betweel the Scots and Picts, and the Angles in the 9th century.

According to legend, St Andrew appeared to the Pictish King Óengus mac Fergusa (Óengus II) in a dream and told him his army would be victorious. On the day of the battle, the symbol of a saltire – reminiscent of the diagonal cross St Andrew was crucified on – appeared in the sky and Óengus II and his army were triumphant.

Scotland’s flag was chosen in honour of that moment, and it is also how the ancient town of St Andrew’s got its name.

When is St Andrew’s Day?

St Andrew’s Day is celebrated on November 30.

The tradition of celebrating it on this day was conceived by 18th century ex patriots in the United States, who were keen to reconnect with their Scottish roots.

How is St Andrew’s Day celebrated?

Different regions of Scotland have their own traditions and events to commemorate the day.

East Lothian hosts the annual Saltire Festival with a 10K night run, golfing tournament, crafting workshops and traditional music performances.

Elsewhere, you can find a stunning torchlight procession through the Glasgow’s West End.

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