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St. Andrew's Day

St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. St. Andrew was one of the Twelve Apostles (disciples of Jesus) and brother of Simon Peter (Saint Peter). He was a fisherman by trade, who lived in Galilee (in present-day Israel.) . He was the second person to be baptised by John the Baptist after Jesus. Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of Romania and Russia.

St Andrew's day is celebrated on the 30th November. St. Andrew 's Day is also connected with Advent, which begins on the nearest Sunday to 30 November.

The Scottish flag is the cross of St. Andrew, also known as the Saltire. It is said to be one of the oldest national flags of any country, dating back at least to the 12th century. St. Andrew is believed to have died on a diagonally transversed cross, similar to a crucifix, which the Romans sometimes used for executions and which, therefore, came to be called St. Andrew's cross. The blue stands for the sky.

St. Andrew 's Day marks the opening of Christmas Markets. Many Midwinter customs and folk superstitions are also connected to St. Andrew 's day. Around midnight on Nov 29th, the day before St Andrew's Day, it was traditional for girls to pray to St. Andrew for a husband. They would make a wish and look for a sign that they had been heard. A girl wishing to marry could:

  • Throw a shoe at a door. If the toe of the shoe pointed in the direction of the exit, then she would marry and leave her parents' house within a year.
  • Peel a whole apple without breaking the peel and throw the peel over the shoulder. If the peel formed a letter of the alphabet, then this suggested the name of her future groom.

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