St. Andrew’s Day- The National Day of Scotland
St. Andrew’s Day -National Holiday
St.Andrew’s Day, which is on November 30th, is celebrated as the National day of Scotland. This is a bank holiday in Scotland. National days are not celebrated in Britain except the two national days- St. Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland and St. Andrew’s day in Scotland, which are considered as official holidays.
Scottish Parliament approved St. Andrew's Day as an authorized Bank Holiday according to Scotland Act 2007, in the year 2006. If 30th November comes over a weekend, then the next Monday is celebrated as a bank holiday. It is a voluntary public holiday on November 30th. The National Day is an official flag day too in Scotland. According to the flag flying regulations of the Scottish Government, the flag of Scotland (The Saltire) should fly on all the buildings with a flagpole. On the buildings with more than one flag pole, the Union Flag should also be flown.
Thistle and Saltire
The Scottish flag is a white cross on a blue background. It is the cross of St. Andrew, also known as the Saltire. St.Andrews was considered to be executed by the Romans on a diagonally transverse cross. The blue color symbolizes the sky. It is one of the oldest national flags of any country, considered to be of the twelfth century.
Thistle is considered to be the national emblem of Scotland, which is a pale purplish pricky leaved plant. The myth behind this is that a group of Scots were sleeping in a field when a group of Vikings came slowly to attack them. One of the Vikings stepped on a Thistle, whose spike pierced through his foot and he cried out with pain. This wakened up the Scots and they fought off the Vikings. From that day onwards Thistle is considered to be the national emblem of Scotland.
The national dress of Scotland for males is a kilt with shirt, black waistcoat and tweed jacket, stockings with garter flashes, brogue shoes and a sporran. Women usually wear an ankle length tartan skirt.
The year 2009 marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns and Scotland's Year of Homecoming. The celebrations were the biggest ever with around two lakh people taking part in the events. More than 40 events were featured across the country. The finale programme started on November 26th and ended on St. Andrew’s day.There were live music, artistic performances and lots of fun. Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire, East Lothian, Stirling and St Andrews are some of the venues where main celebrations took place.
Scotland’s National Day together with the St. Andrew’s day is often celebrated with traditional foodstuff such as fish, haggis, whisky and Scotch broth frequently on the list of options, accompanied by dancing and music to melt a wintry November day.
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