This past weekend was St. Andrew’s day (November 30), which is the national holiday of Scotland.
St. Andrew is the brother of Peter and one of the original apostles of Christ, and actually introduced Peter to Christ. Good thing, because Peter kinda perpetuated Christianity after Christ’s ascension. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and also Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Greece.
Here’s the story of St. Andrew becoming the patron saint of Scotland, straight from Scotland’s website:
As Scotland slowly became a nation it needed a national symbol to rally round and motivate the country. Saint Andrew was an inspired choice and the early Picts and Scots modelled themselves on Saint Andrew and on one of his strong supporters, the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, whose statue you can see today in York, where the he visited his father, a Roman General then trying to force the Picts to go back north.
Although a pagan who worshipped the Roman sun god Sol, Constantine later became a Christian and went on to make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
It all began near Rome in 312 AD when, on the night of a make-or-break battle against a rival emperor, he saw the symbol X P (Greek for the first two letters of ‘Christ’) in the dazzling light of the setting sun and then had a dream in which he was promised victory. Constantine ordered his troops to hold the Christian cross at the front of the army, and won.
In a similar way, around 500 years later, King Angus of the Picts, facing a larger army of Saxons at Athelstaneford in what is now East Lothian in Scotland, was overwhelmed by a blinding light the night before the battle and, during the night, had a dream. The message he was given was that he would see a Cross in the sky and would conquer his enemies in its name.
The following morning King Angus looked into the rising sun and saw the Saltire Cross in its blinding light. This filled him and his men with great confidence and they were victorious. From that time Saint Andrew and his Saltire Cross were adopted as the national symbols for an emerging Scotland.
On November 30, it is required that this flag (the Saltire) fly from every building with a flagpole throughout Scotland. I love, Love, LOVE how much Scots honor traditions, heritage, and history. They help to perpetuate ideals like honor, respect, freedom, through generations. So wonderful and important. 🙂
We had a ceilidh at my church to celebrate. 🙂 I might be getting better at dancing…maybe. 🙂