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Saint Andrew and St Andrews Day Trivia


Information, history, pictures and trivia about Saint Andrew and St Andrews Day including when it is and why it is celebrated:

St Andrews Flag St Andrew is the patron Saint of Scotland and St Andrews Day is celebrated on the 30 November each year in Scotland and by Scottish people around the world with many Scottish St Andrews Societies holding functions and celebrations of Scottishness on the night.


Who Was Saint Andrew?


Saint Andrew was one of the twelve Christian Apostles of Jesus Christ. He was a fisherman, like his father and his brother, Saint Simon Peter, who was also a Disciple of Jesus, the Son of God. They lived in Galilee, Palestine which is now known as Israel. They were born at Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. It is thought that his date of birth was in the year 5 AD. He was also a Disciple of John the Baptist before he followed the Lord Jesus. Much of the information about St Andrew is recorded from legends and stories.


If you came to this page looking for a quiz sheet about Saint Andrew then either read the info on this page or go to the Uttertrivia St Andrews Day Quiz.

St Andrew And Jesus


Andrew and Simon met Jesus after they came ashore from a night fishing trip. Though they had been out in their boat for many hours they did not catch any fish. Jesus told them to go back out and cast their nets in a deeper section of the water where he directed them. The brothers caught many fish and marvelled at the power of Jesus. They followed him and become his disciples. This was thought to be the year 27 AD.

Andrew and the other disciples travelled with Jesus around Palestine preaching the word of God. He was with Jesus when he took the five loaves and two fishes to Jesus and he in turn performed a miracle by turning the food into enough to feed the five thousand people in the crowd.



Other Countries with St Andrew as the Patron Saint

After the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion Andrew preached the word of the Gospel and about Christianity in Greece, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga. This is why he also became a Patron Saint of Patras, Greece, Romania, Prussia and Russia. St Andrew is also the patron saint of single women, members of the Order of the Thistle (a British order of Chivalry), fishermen, people with gout, singers and unmarried women.

Andrew was the first Bishop of Byzantium in the year 38AD, a position which would later become Patriarch of Constantinople.

Andrew was made a Saint because he led a holy life. People still pray to the saints because they believe they are close to God. Saints who care for a country or group of people are called patron saints.

Pictures and images of Saint Andrew show him as an old man with a long beard holding an X shaped cross, a book or a fishing net.

The picture of the Scottish flag above is traditionally known at the Saint Andrew flag. It is thought to be the oldest flag in the world. It dates back to the 12th Century. The other names of the St Andrew flag is the Saltire and the Naval Jack of Russia. It is the National flag of Scotland.



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The Origins Of The St Andrews Cross And Flag


Saltire Flag Whilst in Southern Greece Andrew stayed some time in the city of Patras where he healed many sick people. At the time the country was ruled by the Romans and he healed Maximillia, the wife of a powerful Roman General. She converted to Christianity.

Her husband was so angry at his wife becoming a Christian that he wanted to stop this new religion and ordered his soldiers to put Andrew to the death.

The origins of the St Andrews flag and cross comes from when Saint Andrew was crucified by the Romans at Patras (Patrae) in Achaea. His crucifixion was not like that of Jesus, but done diagonally on a cross of the form called Crux decussata which translates to X-shaped cross. This explains the white cross. The dark blue background is a symbol of the sky. This form of cross soon became known as the St Andrew's Cross. Andrew requested to die this way because he did not think he was worthy enough to die the same way, on an upright cross, like his Lord Jesus had.

It is thought that St Andrew died in the year 60 AD.

Pantone 300 is the official colour of the background of the saltire St Andrews flag.


The Relics Of Saint Andrew

Andrew was buried in a tomb at Patras and 300 years later Emperor Constantine wanted to move his bones to Turkey, to bury them at a new church.
The relics of Saint Andrew were taken to the city of Patras from where they were taken to Constantinople by order of the Roman emperor Constantius II in 357.

They were then taken to St Andrews in Scotland in the 10th Century from when he became the Patron Saint of Scotland. This is thought to have been in the year 1160 and were taken by St Regulus (Rule), a Greek monk, who was shipwrecked off the Fife coast and the area he was washed ashore became know as St Andrews. He had a dream in which an angel told him to rescue some of the bones of St Andrew and take them to a place of safety far away. It is thought that in life Saint Andrew had never been to Scotland or any country within the UK.

Regulus had a chapel built in St Andrews to store the relics of Saint Andrew. Pilgrims would come from far away to see the bones of St Andrew because they thought they held special powers. A Cathedral was later built in the year 1160 in honour of St Andrew and the ruins can still be seen in St Andrews. It is thought that his relics were later sold to the Romans by the local priests in exchange of the Romans constructing a water reservoir for the city. The Romans took the bones to Rome in Italy.

Up until the 20th Century his relics were kept at the Vatican City. In 1964 Pope Paul VI ordered that they be returned to Patras. They are now kept in a special tomb in the Church of St Andrew at Patras. The relics consist of the top of the cranium of St Andrew and his small finger, an arm bone and a kneecap. They are reverenced in a special ceremony every November 30. The other bones of St Andrew are thought to have been destroyed during the Reformation years or stolen by Crusaders at Constantinople and taken to Amalfi in Italy at about the year 1204. However a fragment is in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.

There is a legend that in the late 8th century there was a battle of Athelstaneford with the English and King Ungus of Scotland (the earlier name for Angus). Prior to the battle King Ungus prayed to Andrew and said that if he won the battle by his grace, then he would become the Patron Saint of Scotland. On the day of the battle the King of Scotland looked to the sky, prayed to St Andrew and saw a cloud shaped like a saltire. He declared that Andrew was watching over them and that this was a sign that they would win the battle.


Customs And Traditions Of St Andrews Day

People in Scotland and Scottish people who find themselves living abroad celebrate St Andrew's Day by playing or listening to bagpipe music and dancing to Scottish music.

The day following St Andrew's Day marks the first day of Advent on 1 December.

A young woman or girl should pray on the night of the 29 November to be married. They would look for a sign about their future husband on the 30 November. One such sign would be to throw a shoe at the door of her parents house. If the toe pointed to the house she would be staying there another year. If it pointed away from the home she would be leaving to be wed within the year and live with her spouse.

Another old custom from Saint Andrew Day is that a young woman should try and peel an apple in one go. This peel would then form the initial name of her intended.

There is no specific food that should be eaten on St Andrews Day, though some enjoy cock-a-leekie soup as a started and a main course of haggis whilst others eat fish because Saint Andrew was a fisherman.

A modern day custom on Saint Andrews day is free admission to Scottish Castles that are maintained by Historic Scotland. These include free entry to Edinburgh Castle, St Andrews Castle and St Andrews Cathedral today to celebrate St Andrews Day.


Why is St Andrew's Day on the 30th of November

St Andrew was martyred on the 30th November and this is why Scots celebrate this day each year.


St Andrews Day Trivia

It is hoped that the Scottish Executive will one day make St Andrews Day a public holiday in Scotland.

An Abbey in Marseilles in France has a piece of wood that is thought to have come from the wooden cross on which St Andrew was crucified.

The Greek Meaning for the name Andrew is manly and courageous.

Galilee is now in the Country of Israel.

It used to be the tradition for Scottish farmers, their workers and labourers to go out St Andra'ing where they would catch rabbits and hares and have a feast on a singed sheep's head, though they would have called it a heid. There would have been much drinking to celebrate the day.


The Pictish settlement where the town of St Andrews now stands was called Mucross. The town which grew thereafter was then called Kilrymont before becoming known as St Andrews.


St Andrews University was founded in the year 1413.


Famous People Born on St Andrews Day

The following people were born on St Andrews Day and share the same birthday:

Sir Winston Churchill (1874) - Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.
Ridley Scott (1937) - Film Director (The films Gadiator, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise).
Frank Ifield (1937) - Sixties singer known as The Yodelling Cowboy.
Billy Idol (1955) - British Musician.
Lorraine Kelly (1959) Scottish journalist ands presenter of Good Morning TV (GMTV) and Scottish Sunday Post columnist.
Gary Lineker (1960) - English footballer and Television Presenter.
Ben Stiller (1965) - American Actor (Zoolander, There's Something About Mary, Meet The Parents, Starsky and Hutch, The Mirror).
Richard Bacon (1975) - Television and Radio Presenter (Blue Peter, Drive-time show on Xfm London, )


Famous People who Died on St Andrews Day

Oscar Wilde (Irish writer) in 1900.
Joyce Grenfell - UK Actress (St Trinianís Films, The Pickwick papers, The Lamp Still Burns) in 1979.
Zeppo Marx - American actor and comedian who was the youngest of the Marx Brothers (Films - Monkey Business, Duck Soup) in 1979 he was the last Marx Brother to die.
Kathy Acher (American Writer) in 1997.


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