Today, people all over the world will be celebrating St Andrew’s Day, which happens every year on the 30th November. We love a good celebration, and think that any excuse to release your inner Highland dancer should be fully embraced – or at the very least, toasted with a glass of whisky.
So wherever you are in the world, here are some ideas to help you show your appreciation for Scotland’s patron saint (tartan clothing optional).
We’re talking cullen skink, cockaleekie, Loch Fyne salmon, neeps and tatties, clootie dumplings and of course, the star of any celebratory Scottish meal; haggis. Hearty fare perfect for a cold November night!
2. Drink Whisky
It would be rude not to wash down such a delicious supper with a wee dram of whisky; a key ingredient in any good, old fashioned Scottish knees up. If you really want to drink something special, you could even get your own personalised bottle made for the occasion.
3. Attend a Ceilidh
A Ceilidh (kay-lee) is a traditional Gaelic gathering, involving jolly music and an opportunity to participate in various excellently named dances such as ‘The Dashing White Sergeant’ and ‘The Marmalade Sandwich’. It’s good for a laugh, particularly for those with two left feet. As my grandad always used to say, everyone lets their hair down at a Ceilidh.
4. Play a Round of Golf
If you’re lucky enough to be granted the day off as holiday, why not brave the elements and head down to the golfing haven named after the man himself? The town of St Andrew’s in Scotland is known as the home of golf, and even if you’re not too handy with a club, don’t worry – the scenery in this neck of the woods will make up for any losing streak (see above).
5. Make Your Own Kilt
Feeling creative? If you’re really determined to don something plaid this St Andrew’s day, why not take a bit of time to find your favourite tartan and have a go at fashioning a kilt. Not only are there plenty of patterns available online to impress your friends with, but aside from anything else, you’ll look super cool.
6. Host a Poetry Reading
While ole’ Rabbie Burns does have his own night at the start of the year, we think you can never have too much of a good thing. So why not get together with friends to read and discuss some of the Scottish Bard’s best loved works? You can even wear your homemade kilts and drink whisky at the same time. A true celebration.
7. Party in Barbados (really)
Though most commonly associated with Scotland, St Andrew is also the patron saint of several other countries, including Romania, Ukraine, Russia and – you guessed it -Barbados. So if you fancy making a weekend of it, why not try and tour all the places St Andrew has patronage over? You could always exclude Barbados for logistical ease, but looking at that beach, we’re not sure why you’d want to do that.
In Romania, St Andrew’s night is traditionally when women find the men they are going to marry, using the slightly unconventional method of putting 41 grains of wheat beneath their pillow before they go to bed. If simply dreaming of your perfect match isn’t for you, we suggest speed dating might be a better way to sort out the wheat from the chaff (sorry).
The Scottish capital has a whole host of St Andrew’s day events to keep you occupied, including ‘St Andrews’ sangs an’ stories’ at the Scottish storytelling centre and the ‘Carnival at the Castle’. And you could always treat yourself while you’re there…
10. Watch Braveheart
If you can’t be bothered with any of the above, you can always just put your feet up and stick Braveheart on. You can paint your face blue too, if you really fancy it.
How will you be celebrating St Andrew’s Day?
Images all licenced under creative commons via Flickr: evanwilsonphoto, rfduck, sandman5, marlon-bunday-mmx, dumfriesmuseum, adselwood, angryjuliemonday, richbs, sxc, evanwilsonphoto, Jamie McCaffrey, Andrew Belding