St. Andrews Day
This year: Thursday, November 30, 2017
Each year on November, 30, Scotland celebrates the St. Andrew's Day - its patron saint, who became so in the middle of the tenth century. Some legends tell that the relics of Andrew were brought from Constantinople under supernatural counselling to the place, where nowadays the modern town of St. Andrews is located. In another legend we can read about one amazing occurrence in the late VIII century. During a joint battle with the English, King Ungus saw a cloud shaped like a saltire and St. Andrew watching over them. If the battle had been won by his benignity, then he would become their patron saint.
However, it is only since 2006 that Scotland has officially registered St. Andrew's day as a public holiday. And each organization or company may take its own decision about how to manage it - have a holiday or not, or replace an existing one. The new legislation does not make any restriction on that.
Generally, November 30th aims at contributing to the emphasis of St Andrew's Day as a national celebration of Scottish individual culture and characteristics across all Scotland. However, the St. Andrew's Day is still not a national holiday.
The Scots profit by this holiday to fete the Scottish culture and culinary art. Traditionally, there are many public events organized during the "St. Andrew's Week" in the city of St. Andrew's, which is this holiday's main celebration place in Scotland. One can attend special church services, listen to music concerts, or participate at the gruel-making competitions - a well-known tradition in Scotland. On St Andrew's Day people also meet at informal social gatherings, where they sing, dance, listen to Scottish folk music and traditional stories, and visit places that are not usually open to the public, such as the Masonic Lodge and the private areas of the famous Royal and Ancient Golf Course.
St. Andrew's Day is also associated with Advent - the time of waiting for the arrival of Christmas, and it marks the time of opening the Christmas markets.
There is one curious superstition connected to St. Andrew's Day, according to which on November 29, before midnight, girls can pray to St. Andrew for a husband. They would make a wish and look for a sign that they had been heard.