Sunday, November 30, 2003

St. Andrew's Day

30 November is St. Andrew's Day, the feast of the patron saint of Scotland. It doesn't have the world-wide prominence that St. Patrick's Day does but it's still a great day of celebration for the Scots. Locally the Los Angeles branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society had its annual St. Andrew's Day Ball a week ago Saturday. (I didn't go; had an audition.) And the local St. Andrew's Societies usually have an event.

There are very few illustrations on this blog in the hopes that it won't take all week to load for those with dial-up connections. But there is one above this post - I hope. It's the Cross of St. Andrew, the national flag of Scotland. This website describes its origin thusly:

Angus, King of the Picts, adopted the blue and white cross of St Andrew as his standard. Legend claims that St Andrew appeared to Angus in a dream on the eve of a great victory against the Northumbrians at Athelstaneford in East Lothian.

An important shrine to St Andrew grew up at Kilreymont in north-east Fife in the ninth and tenth centuries. In time St Andrew displaced earlier Celtic saints as the patron of the Kingdom of Alba. He was probably promoted by kings such as Constantine II who used the saint as a means of unifying his Scottish and Pictish peoples into one nation.

Liturgically, St. Andrew's Day is completely eclipsed this year by the celebration of the First Sunday of Advent.