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St. Andrew's Day

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Saint Andrew's Day
Apostol-Andrey-Pervozvannyj
St Andrew
Observed by Scottish people & People of Scottish ancestry
Type Bank holiday in Scotland.
Date 30 November
Celebrations Bank holiday.

St. Andrew's Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew. It is celebrated on 30 November.

Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is Scotland's official national day. In 2006, the Scottish Parliament designated St. Andrew's Day as an official bank holiday.

Although most commonly associated with Scotland, Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece, Romania, Russia and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.[1].

In Germany, the feast day is celebrated as Andreasnacht ("St. Andrew's Night"), in Austria with the custom of Andreasgebet ("St. Andrew's Prayer"), and in Poland as Andrzejki ("Andrews").

Traditions and Celebrations in Scotland

Bank Holiday

In 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed the St. Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007 [2], which designated the Day as an official bank holiday. If November 30 falls on a weekend, the next Monday is a bank holiday instead.

The notion that the day should be an official bank holiday was first proposed by Dennis Canavan, Independent Member of the Scottish Parliament for Falkirk West in 2003.[3] However, the Bill he introduced to the Parliament was initially rejected as the Executive did not support it. A compromise deal was reached whereby the holiday would not be an additional entitlement. Then First Minister, Jack McConnell, stated that he believed that employers and employees should mark the day with a holiday, but that this should be as a substitute for an existing local holiday, rather than an additional one.[4]

Although it is a bank holiday, banks are not required to close and employers are not required to give their employees the day off as a holiday. St Andrew's Day is an official flag day in Scotland. The Scottish Government's flag-flying regulations state that the Flag of Scotland (The Saltire) shall fly on all its buildings with a flagpole.[5] The Union Flag is also flown if the building has more than one flagpole. The arrangements for the United Kingdom Government in Scotland are the opposite. They fly the Union Flag, and will only fly the Saltire if there is more than one flagpole.[6]

The flying of the Saltire on St Andrew's Day is a recent development. Prior to 2002, the Scottish Government followed the UK Government's flag days and would only fly the Union Flag on St Andrew's Day. This led to Members of the Scottish Parliament complaining that Scotland was the only country in the world that could not fly its national flag on its national day. The regulations were updated to state that the Union Flag would be removed and replaced by the Saltire on buildings with only one flagpole.[7]

The flying of the Union Flag from Edinburgh Castle on all days, including St Andrew's Day causes anger among some Scottish National Party politicians who have argued that the Saltire should fly on November 30 instead.[8] However, the Union Flag is flown by the British Army at the Castle as it still is an official British Army flag flying station, and all Army installations fly the Union Flag at ratio 3:5. Historic Scotland, a Scottish Government agency, lease part of the Castle to the British Army. The British Army has been criticised for refusing to fly the Saltire above Edinburgh Castle, but dropping the Union Flag in its recruitment campaigns in Scotland instead preferring the Saltire, a decision branded hypocritical by SNP politicians.

Related traditions in continental Europe

In parts of Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Romania, superstitious belief exists that the night before St. Andrew's Day is specially suitable for magic that reveals a young woman's future husband or that binds a future husband to her. Many related customs exist: for example, the pouring of hot lead into water (in Poland, one usually pours hot wax from a candle through a key hole into cold water), divining the future husband's profession from the shape of the resulting piece (related divinations using molten metals are still popular in Germany on Hogmanay). In some areas in Austria, young women would drink wine and then perform a spell, called Andreasgebet (Saint Andrew's prayer), while nude and kicking a straw bed. This was supposed to magically attract the future husband. Yet another custom is to throw a clog over one's shoulder: if it lands pointing to the door, the woman will get married in the same year.

In some parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, young women would write down the names of potential husbands on little pieces of paper and stick these into little pieces of dough, called Halusky. When cooked, the first one to float to the surface of the water would reveal the name of their future husband.

In Poland, it is popular for women to put pieces of paper (on which they have written potential husbands) under the pillow and first thing in the morning they take one out, which reveals the name of the future husband.

In Romania, it is customary for young women to put 41 grains of wheat beneath their pillow before they go to sleep, and if they dream that someone is coming to steal their grains that means that they are going to get married next year. Also in some other parts of the country the young women light a candle from the Easter and bring it, at midnight, to a fountain. When the water is well-lit, they say a prayer to St. Andrew asking him to let them get a glimpse of the face of their future husband. . St. Andrew is also the national saint of Romanians and Romanian Orthodox Church.[9]

See also

References

External links

ca:Dia de Sant Andreufo:Andrasarmessa hu:András-nap no:St. Andrew's Daysco:St. Andra's Day

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