St. Andrew has been celebrated in Scotland for over 1,000 years with feasts held in his honor. How November 30th became the day he is remembered is all due to some wealthy Scottish expats living in Charleston, South Carolina. The tradition started back in 1729 on the 30th of November, as it is understood to be the day that he died.
But who was St. Andrew? And why has he become a symbol of Scotland?
ST. ANDREW, PATRON SAINT
St. Andrew wasn’t born in Scotland, but in Galilee, now part of Israel. He was a fisherman and one of Christ’s disciples. A kind and generous man, his philosophy was to share whatever you had with those less fortunate. St. Andrew, was said to have been crucified on a Saltire (an X-shaped cross) around 60 AD in Greece. The Saltire is featured on Scotland’s flag.
How St. Andrew came to be known in Scotland is due in part to King Óengus I, King of the Picts (732-761). When the saint’s relics were sent to Scotland, the king built a monastery in his honor in the town now known as St. Andrews. Furthermore, King Óengus II (820-834) prayed to St. Andrew for help in a battle that he and his army of Picts and Scots were fighting against the Saxons. Hugely outnumbered, the king’s chances did not look good.
The king is said to have seen a Saltire in the sky on the day his army succeeded. As a result, St. Andrew and the Saltire cross became symbols of Scotland. And upon Scotland’s independence in 1320, St. Andrew became its official patron saint.
ST. ANDREW’S DAY CELEBRATIONS
St. Andrew’s Day kicks off Scotland’s winter festivals, which include Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) and Burns Night. November 30th is an official national holiday. On this day, Scottish culture is celebrated including the country’s music, dance, food, and of course, drink. This is where we come in. While you’re listening to those bagpipes and eating your haggis, neeps and tatties, these whisky recommendations will help wash it all down. Slàinte Mhath!
Bring something a bit off the beaten path to your party with this blended malt. Find classic Highland notes here. A great whisky to get your evening going.
Loads of vanilla and coconut fill your palate with this dram—a smooth and rich drinking single malt from the Lowland distillery.
This single malt is chock full of chocolate and dried fruits highlighting the lovely nuttiness that the sherry influence provides.
Ardbeg is a pleasant sight to see at any whisky celebration. This latest entry to their permanent collection has the classic Ardbeg peat and seaweed flavors along with a rich, malty taste.
One of my favorite whiskies this year, Glen Grant 18 is a dram showing complexity and elegance. Lovely honey, dried fruits, and floral aromas feature prominently here.
If you want to end the night with a bang, this Bruichladdich whisky is the right call. Peat level here is 167 ppm. Intense flavors of peat, violets and dried red fruit all at 114.6 proof. Don’t forget to add some water!
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