Feestdag van Schotland

St Andrew’s Day (or in Scottish Gaelic ‘Là Naomh Anndrais’), celebrates Scotland’s patron saint.

St Andrew, according to Christianity’s teachings, was one of Jesus Christ’s apostles and was born in Bethsaida, in Galilee, now part of Israel. His remains were moved 300 years after his death to Constantinople, now Istanbul, by the Emperor Constantine.

He was revered in Scotland from around 1,000 AD but didn’t become its official patron saint of Scotland until the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

Like Jesus, Andrew died a martyr and was crucified in Greece on an X-shaped cross in 60 AD, rather than the ‘T’ shape cross that Jesus was crucified on. This type of cross is also known as a saltire – the symbol that makes up the Scottish flag.

The city of St Andrew’s in Scotland

St Andrew’s links with Scotland come from the Pictish King Oengus I, who built a monastery in what is now the town of St Andrews – where the Scottish university now stands – after the relics of the saint were brought to the town in the eighth century.

But he was made the patron saint of Scotland after the king’s descendant, Oengus II, prayed to St Andrew on the eve of a crucial battle against English warriors from Northumberland, around 20 miles east of Edinburgh.

Legend has it that, heavily outnumbered, Oengus II told St Andrew that he would become the patron saint of Scotland if he were granted victory. On the day of the battle, clouds are said to have formed a saltire in the sky, and Oengus’s army of Picts and Scots were victorious.

St Andrew’s was a popular medieval pilgrimage site up until the 16th century – where the supposed remains of the saint including a tooth, kneecap, arm and finger bone were kept.

In 1870, the Archbishop of Amalfi sent an apparent piece of the saint’s shoulder blade to Scotland, where it has since been stored in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. The other relics were destroyed in the Scottish Reformation.

The Saltire flag – a white cross on a blue background – is said to have come from this divine intervention and has been used to represent Scotland since 1385.

Afbeelding overgenomen uit “ImagiNATION” gepubliceerd door de Europese Vrije Alliantie (EVA) en het Maurits Copieters Centrum, 2014. “Vote Yes” poster for the Scottish independence referendum campaign.