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St Andrew's Day


Here we are again, the 30th of November looms. “How do we celebrate it?” I was asked by a seven-year-old. “Do we get a day off school?”

Not unless it falls at the weekend I informed him. Then I had to delve into my limited knowledge and look for ways to explain how we could do mark out the day.

If it was St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland it would be easy. National Holiday and do what you like within reason. But we don’t have any traditions to really pin this day on…yet.

At least on Burn’s night, you can have a Burn’s Supper, or serve haggis, tatties, and neeps at home followed by some poetry. On Hogmanay, we can partake of a wee tipple and wish everyone A Happy New Year.

St. Andrews day in Scotland does not seem to have a single obvious tradition to mark it. Of course, there are lots of other countries that celebrate the man behind the saint or indeed have other events that make the 30th of November special for them. Both Barbados and Yemen celebrate their independence day while in the Philippines they celebrate Bonifacio Day.

Here maybe a special meal will mark the occasion, or our national flag will fly from more buildings. Perhaps a ceilidh or two will be planned. Is it time we contemplated celebrating it differently? Should we do something on a national level in the schools and in the community?

How about a celebration of the many achievements we as a nation have contributed to Scotland and the rest of the world. Often given our population we have pushed well above our weight in world events. Throughout history, we have produced some remarkable people

From Isabella MacDuff who deified her husband and crowned Robert the Bruce the King, to Dundee-born Frances Right a social reformer who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and travelled to America to help achieve this. In the world of science, the Astronomer Mary Somerville or the chemist Dr. Christina Miller and her sheer determination despite her disabilities.

I haven’t even mentioned the many writers, artists, actors, musicians, scientists, and environmentalists of the more modern world. So many remarkable people have come out of Scotland. Is there a way we can celebrate this day and also highlight these amazing people?

I hope at some point we can improve our inhabitant’s knowledge of Scots that have achieved so many amazing things. Just how we could celebrate this I have no idea but I am sure there is some lateral thinker out there that could come up with a way that could combine this with St Andrew’s day.

I’m not sure if it is the cities, the countryside, or even the weather that focus so many minds and help produce a way of thinking that allows scientists, entrepreneurs, and other creative people to develop. Perhaps it is all that rain that forces us inside to do something else, who knows. I am just grateful that over the centuries we have produced so many great people.

So why is it not a ‘great Scot’ that I have in the picture above? Well, I do think our landscape has a lot to do with our thinking. The colours in it are reflected within our national flag of blue and white. If you look closely at the bottom of the photography you can make out our Saltire flag displayed by the fallen trees crossed and covered in snow. A fitting tribute I hope to St Andrew's day. And once more a good excuse to include some more of our trees!


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