November 30th- Happy St Andrew’s Day!
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s official national day. In 2006, the Scottish Parliament designated St Andrew’s Day as an official bank holiday.
Although most commonly associated with Scotland, at least in the English-speaking world, Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
According to legend, the Christian apostle and martyr Saint Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras, (Patrae), in Achaea. Use of the familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, first appears in the Kingdom of Scotland in 1180 during the reign of William I. This image was again depicted on seals used during the late 13th century; including on one particular example used by the Guardians of Scotland, dated 1286.
The legend surrounding Scotland’s association with the Saint Andrew’s Cross was related by Walter Bower and George Buchanan, who claimed that the flag originated in a 9th century battle, where Óengus II led a combined force of Picts and Scots to victory over the Angles, led by Æthelstan. Supposedly, a miraculous white saltire appeared in the blue sky and Óengus’ troops were roused to victory by the omen.
Consisting of a blue background over which is placed a white representation of an X-shaped cross, the Saltire is one of Scotland’s most recognisable symbols.