St Andrew’s Day 2020: history and traditions of Scotland

Today is St Andrew’s Day, the National day of Scotland!

But do you really know who is the patron saint of Scotland?

Also known as ‘Là Naomh Anndrais’ in Scottish Gaelic, St Andrew was a fisherman and one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. According to the legend, in the 18th century, after his relics were brought over to Kinrymont in Fife, the town became a major destination for medieval pilgrims and was later re-named St Andrews. It is said he was crucified in 60 AD on an X-shaped cross, rather than the “T” shaped cross of Jesus as he didn’t see himself as worthy enough to die as Jesus did.

This is why the Scottish flag’s symbol is an X. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

The Scottish Parliament made St Andrew’s Day an official bank holiday in Scotland in 2007.


Nowadays the traditional celebrations involve ceilidh dancing, eating haggis neeps and tatties, and enjoying Scottish music and culture. More recently it has also meant supporting our local Scottish communities on the day, whether through acts of kindness or by finding new local businesses to enjoy.

This year the traditional activities will not go ahead but the communities across Scotland are being encouraged to celebrate the 30th November in different ways. Here below you can find a couple of this year’s initiatives:

  • One Million Word of Kindness: #OneKindAct campaign is asking people to send king messages to their friends, family and neighbors in order to spread the kindness and connection across the country
  • Get Yer Kilt On: it’s a tourism initiative organised by the Fife Tourism Partnership. You can support it by wearing your kilt or something pattern tartan and then share your pictures on social media using the #GetYerKiltOn hashtag. To find out who the winner will be and for more information on the prize check out the Welcome to Fife social media’s page.

St Andrew’s Day is the right opportunity for everyone to wear their kilt and share the kindness which is part of what makes us who we are as a country.

#StAndrewsDay #ScotlandNationalDay #GetYerKiltOn #WeAreScotland