Happy St Andrew’s Day
Latha Naomh Anndra sona dhuibh!
Or, if you are not familiar with Scottish gaelic, Happy St Andrew’s Day! This is a big day and there are many different associated traditions. In some parts of Europe it is believed that if an unmarried girl puts basil under her pillow and prays to St. Andrew then the man who takes it in her dreams will be the man she will marry. Or putting a saltire on a post next to your fireplace will stop witches flying down. In Romania, garlic is eaten the night before St Andrew’s Day to help ward off evil spirits and garlic cloves are placed next to windows, chimneys and doors. In Ukraine, St Andrew’s Day is celebrated on the 13 December and people eat a lot of pastries and pancakes before pulling mischievous pranks.
It is Scotland to which he is most famously associated as its patron saint and there they celebrate in all sorts of ways. There are food festivals, torchlit parades and ceilidhs with lots of storytelling, singing and dancing. And we here at school enter into the revelry with our own festival, including a hat parade, which again this morning was superb, as well as lots of fun, laughter and celebration. Officially, today has a theme in Scotland, the idea starting in 2015 with the creation of the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival which has the goal of improving the world through art and culture. The theme is kindness and inclusivity and so our traditions and celebrations fit in neatly.
St Andrew was a fisherman when he became an apostle. Bold and brave because he stood up for what he believed in, he has become known as a ‘fisher of men’ because of the way he united people in their beliefs. He believed in sharing the good news and he brought people together through love and selfless acts of kindness. St Andrew’s Prep is all about this: be inclusive; accept others for who they are; and above all, be kind.