5 facts about St. Andrew’s Day

St. Andrews day

5 facts about St. Andrew’s Day


St. Andrew’s Day is celebrated on the 30th of November every year. Andrew is also known as the patron saint of Scotland. It is a day of celebration and lots of special events are held. Many people enjoy Scottish country dancing, listening to bagpipes and eating lots of good Scottish food! Use this blog as a chance to educate your class about different patrons and why they’re important today.

Here are 5 facts about St. Andrew’s Day you may not know.


Fact 1: Who was St. Andrew?

Although there is not much on the history of who St. Andrew was, it is believed that he was born between the years 5 AD and 10 AD in a place that is now part of Israel. According to Christianity, he became one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. It is said that Andrew and his brother, Simon, were the first disciples. Andrew was a fisherman that wanted to spread the word of Jesus throughout Greece. Did you know that St. Andrew never actually visited Scotland? When he died of crucifixion, Andrew didn’t think he was worthy enough to die on the same cross as Jesus Christ; therefore, he asked for the cross to be diagonal. After he died, his bones were taken to Scotland, although nobody is sure how they got there. Head to fact 4 to find out more!


Fact 2: Why is he the patron of Scotland?

There are a couple of different versions of this tale that answers this question. One story says that in the 9th Century, King Angus in Scotland was preparing for a battle against the English. Andrew appeared to King Angus in a dream promising him the victory of the battle. An ‘X’ symbol appeared in the sky during the battle, and this became the symbol of St. Andrew. The King vowed that if they won, Andrew would be made the patron of Scotland. And that is exactly what happened. Therefore, the Scottish flag has a cross on it, as St. Andrew’s symbol.

The second story goes back a lot further than this. It is said that the Scottish people are descended from an ancient population called the Scythians, who lived on the Black Sea (this is now Romania and Bulgaria). Andrew then converted the people to Christianity. Andrew was then officially named the patron of Scotland in 1320.



Fact 3: How do Scottish people celebrate St. Andrew’s Day?

The day is marked by a celebration of Scottish culture which includes traditional music, dance and food.  Traditional activities may involve enjoying the national dish of haggis, neeps and tatties, storytelling, reciting poetry and enjoying a ceilidh, a party which involves traditional folk music and dancing. Try and incorporate some traditional St. Andrew’s celebrations in your classroom.


Fact 4: What happened to St. Andrew’s bones after he died?

This may sound like a strange fact but there are multiple stories as to what happened! When St. Andrew died in Patras in Greece in 60AD, there are a few stories about how his remains came to their final resting place in St. Andrews in Scotland. Nobody is sure exactly how they got there. Legend says that Andrew’s relics were brought to Fife in Scotland from Patras in Greece in the fourth century by Saint Regulus. Some accounts say he was told by an angel to stop intentionally on the shores of Fife, and others say he was shipwrecked off the coast. But wherever the ship was, that’s where they had to build a church.



Fact 5: St Andrew’s Day originated in the USA

A day dedicated to St. Andrew was only established in the mid-18th century, and surprisingly it was neither instigated in Scotland nor any other place that claimed St. Andrew as their patron saint.

In 1729, a group of wealthy Scottish ex-pats set up the St. Andrew’s Society of Charleston in South Carolina, USA, and celebrated on 30 November, the anniversary of his crucifixion. The St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York then helped popularise the day from 1756 onwards.


St. Andrew’s Day is a great opportunity to teach children about different holidays and why they’re important to them. Make the most of this holiday by teaching them these facts and try and get them to wear blue, white or tartan too!


<a href="https://blog.hope-education.co.uk/author/amber-vaccianna/" target="_self">Amber Vaccianna</a>

Amber Vaccianna

Hope blog writer

17 November 2022

Tags - Books | English | Reading

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