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Scotland is a land of culture and proud customs. Much like any other country, Scotland has a bevvy of locally recognised holidays. One of Scotland’s most cherished and beloved holidays is St. Andrew’s day. Although it is still a ways off, I figured that I could provide some background information on the holiday and its importance.

When is it?
St. Andrew’s Day is typically held on November 30th. However, because it is a bank holiday, it is sometimes observed on either December 1st or 2nd, if November 30th falls on a Saturday or Sunday. For anyone who is unaware, bank holidays are public holidays and are called bank holidays because banks are officially closed, therefore most other public buildings are closed as well.

How did it start?
While St. Andrew is an incredibly historic figure, it was only recently that the day was officially considered a bank holiday. It was officially considered a bank holiday on November 30, 2007.

Why is it so important?
St. Andrew’s Day is an incredibly important holiday for Scotland. Born in Bethesda, off the shores of Galilee, St. Andrew was the younger brother of St. Peter. Both of these brothers went on to become disciples of Jesus Christ. St. Andrew is considered to be Scotland’s patron saint; the saint is so revered that the Scottish flag bears a cross, or Saltire, that symbolised the crucifix that St. Andrew was crucified on. St. Andrew is a symbol of Scottish pride, and his national holiday is taken very seriously.

How is it celebrated?
The holiday is usually celebrated with various feasts and festivities. Edinburgh, the country’s capital, celebrates the holiday with a week-long celebration, honouring the patron saint with food, fun and musical entertainment. The city also puts a major emphasis on traditional ceilidh dancing, an event where couples gather and dance in a circle. And the rest of the country celebrates in a very similar manner. Glasgow and Dumfries celebrate with food and dancing as well. Obviously, since it is a bank holiday, most Scottish citizens have the day off of work.

St. Andrew’s Day is a day to remember one of Scotland’s most important figures. We get together with our friends and family, eat hearty and delicious meals, tell stories, enjoy music and each other’s company. It is a great day, and a large part of Scotland’s culture.