Today we celebrate Scotland’s patron saint, Saint Andrew, on this national bank holiday in Scotland.
Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them fishers of men.
Saint Andrew is where we get Scotland’s flag, the saltire, also known as the St. Andrew’s cross. The saltire is an X shape, and was used to crucify Andrew, as he deemed himself unworthy to die on the same type of cross Jesus was crucified on.
The tradition of celebrating on 30 November was not started in Scotland, however, but instead by a group of Scots in the USA who were keen to reconnect with their Scottish roots.
It all began with the creation of the ‘St Andrew’s Society of Charleston’ in South Carolina, which was founded in 1729 by a group of wealthy Scottish immigrants. The organisation is actually the oldest Scottish society of its type in the world. They became famous throughout the region for their work assisting orphans and widows in that area.
This was followed by another society, this time in New York, which was founded in 1756. ‘The St Andrew’s Society of the State of New York’ is the oldest charity of any kind registered in New York and was founded by Scotsmen who were looking to relieve the poor and distressed in the town. From these first organisations, St. Andrew’s Societies have spread around the world, including our own, St. Andrew’s Society of Jacksonville, founded in 1977.