St Andrew’s Day 2023: Why is it celebrated and do Scots get a day off?

St Andrew’s Day is Scotland's annual celebration on November 30 (PA Wire)
St Andrew’s Day is Scotland's annual celebration on November 30 (PA Wire)

St Andrew’s Day, which is on November 30 every year, is an occasion for Scots to celebrate their patron saint St Andrew.

The Scottish celebration is also known as the Feast of Saint Andrew. Much like St George’s Day in England, St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, and St David’s Day in Wales, the annual event involves families and friends celebrating their nation’s rich culture.

The day has been celebrated for more than a thousand years dating back as early as 1000 AD. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the annual celebration became commonplace.

St Andrew became the official patron saint after Scotland declared its independence in 1320. The ancient town of St Andrews was named and claimed as his final resting place.

Who was St Andrew?

Andrew was Jesus Christ’s first disciple and an apostle, according to the New Testament.

He is the brother of Simon Peter and a son of Jonah and preached the teachings of Jesus around the globe.

St Andrew’s blessings were felt far and wide beyond Scotland. As such, he is also a patron saint in many other countries including Russia, Spain, Romania, Barbados and Ukraine.

St Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Greece on 30 November 60 AD, which is now represented by the white cross of the Scottish flag.

What happens on St Andrew’s Day and is it a bank holiday?

The Scottish Parliament declared the day a bank holiday in 2006. However, banks are not required to close unless they want to.

If St Andrew’s Day falls on a weekend, the bank holiday is then moved to the following Monday. It will fall on a Thursday this year, which means a bank holiday will not take place.

The day involves Scots in Scotland and elsewhere celebrating all aspects of Scottish culture and heritage.

Traditional Scottish food such as haggis, music and dancing are part of the festivities and many celebrate until the early morning hours.

What events are happening in London?

Cecil Sharp House in London will be hosting a concert on St Andrew's day, with the mesmerising voice of renowned singer Ainsley Hamill.

And over in Bermondsey, St. Andrew's Day will be celebrated with beers, wines & spirits, Scottish whiskey flights and of course, live music from a foot stomping Ceilidh band, who will also be leading the dance later in the evening.

At Mr Fox in Croydon, there will be specially made cocktails followed by tasting different Glengoyne expressions and a fantastic Scottish feast. And of course, haggis, neeps and tatties.