The Patron Saint of Scotland

St Andrew’s Day falls on the 30th of November in Scotland and is a bank holiday, with many organisations enjoying a day off and events taking place across the country to celebrate St Andrews Day in a patriotic fashion. The last few years have seen many more events taking place across the country with a number of Scotland’s historic attractions allowing free admission for the day.

If you happen to be staying with us over St Andrews day, read on to find out all you need to know about the commemoration of the Patron Saint of Scotland.

Saint Andrew is notable in that he was one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus Christ and was also the brother of Saint Peter. Before following Jesus, Andrew was a fisherman. He was born at Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee.

The link of St Andrew to Scotland therefore, is somewhat strenuous. In truth, not much is known about the life of St Andrew or exactly how he came to be Patron Saint of Scotland.

St Andrew was sentenced to death by crucifixion by the Romans in Greece, but he requested to be crucified on a diagonal cross as he felt he was not worthy enough to die on the same shape of cross as Jesus.

Legend has it that relics of the saint were brought from Patras in Greece to Kinrymont in Fife in the fourth century by St Regulus, following his shipwrecking off the east coast. The church at Kinrymont subsequently became the cathedral of St Andrews and developed into a major centre of medieval pilgrimage.

Another account testifies that in the ninth century, the Pictish king, Angus mac Fergus, adopted St Andrew as patron following the appearance of a Saltire in the sky immediately before his victory at Athelstaneford.

Records show that St Andrew was probably the Patron of Scotland by the year AD 1000. In 1286, the Seal of the Guardians of Scotland bore a representation of St Andrew on his X-shaped cross. In 1390, St Andrew was first used as a national symbol on a coin of the realm, a five-shilling piece minted in the reign of Robert III. The diagonal cross on which St Andrew died also features on Scotland’s national flag, the Saltire.

As always Edinburgh boasts an array of events to take part in on St Andrews day ranging from a Scottish Country Dancing workshop, traditional Scottish music to poetry recital from award winning Scottish poet Liz Lochhead. These events will be taking place in the appropriately named St Andrews Square garden. Check out This Is Edinburgh for some more info!

It’s also worth remembering that a number of the city’s best attractions open their doors to the public on this National Day of celebration. 40 attractions across Scotland will be free to enter and within the capital notable attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh Zoo are free to enter, the perfect excuse for a family day out.

So if you’re not already booked in for a stay at Old Town Chambers or Merchiston Residence, please get in touch to arrange your stay, St Andrews day really is a great time to visit Edinburgh and experience Scottish Culture.