Today, Scotland celebrates the feast of its patron, St. Andrew, and its National Day. One account traces St. Andrew’s link to Scotland to Pictish King Oengus I who built a monastery in what is now the town of St. Andrew, where Scotland’s oldest university stands. It says that he became the patron saint of Scotland after the king’s descendant Oengus II prayed to St. Andrew on the eve of a crucial battle against the English from Northumberland. The story has it that the king’s army was greatly outnumbered, and he promised St. Andrew that he would be made the patron saint of Scotland if he won the battle. On the day of the battle, clouds were said to have formed a saltire in the sky, and Oengus’ army of Picts and Scots won. The Saltire flag – a white cross on a blue background, which is said to have come from this divine intervention – has been used to represent Scotland since 1385.
Another legend has it that a monk named Regulus brought relics of St. Andrew to Scotland, where he was provided with land – by a Pictish King on which to build a church. The land grew into what is now the town of St. Andrew where the cathedral became a place of religious pilgrimage. The University of St. Andrew that was established in 1413 is the oldest in that country.
On St. Andrew’s Day and Scotland’s National Day, both the British Prime Minister and Scotland’s First Minister deliver speeches. The dual celebration is also usually marked with the Saltire Festival, which this year includes a 10-kilometer night run, and a Twilight Golf Tournament at Musselburth’s oldest course in the dark with glowing LED balls. Throughout November there are food and drink events which showcase Scotland’s famous fish and chips and top chefs from around the area come together to offer a distinct St. Andrew’s Day dinner. There will be storytelling events and traditional music, outdoor ceilidh, lantern procession, and fireworks by the town’s ancient harbor.
Scotland is one of the four nations comprising the United Kingdom; the other three are Wales, England, and Northern Ireland. Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and second largest city next to Glassgow. It is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in that country. It is the United Kingdom’s “second largest financial center, a major European center for asset management and asset servicing.”
We congratulate the people of Scotland led by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Theresa May, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the occasion of St. Andrew’s Day and its National Day.
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