TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30: It’s the feast day for St. Andrew today, and Christians around the world will be paying tribute to the brother of St. Peter. Few Christians will likely be celebrating as elaborately as the Scots today—after all, St. Andrew is Scotland’s patron saint, and the Scots hold every type of event imaginable! (Check out the official site here.) Legends also abound concerning young women’s rituals on St. Andrew’s Day, as many perform tasks they believe will lead them to their future husbands.
Of course, many pious Christians will bring to mind this humble fisherman who was the first disciple of Jesus. Andrew was originally a fisherman, like his brother, and Andrew chose to become a disciple of St. John the Baptist. (AmericanCatholic has the Catholic perspective.) According to Christian tradition, when John the Baptist declared that Jesus was the Messiah—Andrew began to follow Jesus. (Wikipedia has details.) Jesus finally asked both brothers to leave their fishing boats and to follow him. The brothers and “fishers of men” followed Jesus throughout his life. Christian tradition holds that after Jesus died, St. Andrew continued to preach. Andrew preached until the very last moments of his life—on a cross.
St. Andrew is the patron saints of a number of countries, but Scotland is perhaps best known for national devotion. Kings have reported seeing St. Andrew’s cross in the sky, and armies have worn his cross with pride. (Read more here.) St. Andrew societies—worldwide—even provide help to Scots who have fallen on hard times.
All of Scotland will be partying today, as it is a bank holiday. Contests of all kinds, parades, ceilidh dancing, feasts and free admissions to castles and other landmarks will be just part of the celebrations today. Scotland is also boasting the fact that Prince William and his fiancée, Kate Middleton, met at St. Andrews University in Scotland. The couple plans to wed during St. Andrews University’s 600th anniversary celebrations in 2011.