"O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent;
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content"
Robbie Burns

Friday, November 26, 2010


St Andrew’s Day- November 30th, Scotland’s National Day!!

Who was St Andrew’s?

In Scotland it is a day of celebration with tradtional food, music, pipes, whisky and dancing. In recent years it was a day to renew the Scottish nationalists' desire for Scottish independence from the British crown in London. Though Scotland has had its own parliament since 1997, for many Scots this is not enough and their unique Scottish patriotism emerges on this holiday like no other day in the year. Especially when they look out over Edinburgh castle and find it is the only place in Edinburgh on St Andrew's that doesn't fly the Scottish Saltire which is common on all Scottish and British buildings in Scotland on this day. The reason being that the castle though let by Historic Scotland, is still a military base and is required to fly the British flag. In past there have been torchlight parades from the Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle with many a blue/white Saltire faced Scot. The iconic blue and white cross flag of Scotland is thought to be one of the oldest known in the world as it dates back to the 12th century.

The following is a delightful video that tells the story much better than I could:.

St Andrew’s Day marks the beginning of Advent, and like our own Thanksgiving holiday in the States, it kicks off the Christmas holiday season. For all the unwed lassies at midnight on November 29th they would pray to St Andrew for a husband but to help it along they would take their shoe and toss it at the door. If the toe of the shoe was facing the door then they would marry within the year and leave their parents home. There are similar customs in Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, and Germany that have to do with women finding husbands on this day as well. Not sure I see the connection to marriage and St Andrew but there it is. However not only does it kick off the Christmas holiday season but ...

November 30 is also the beginning of HAGGIS hunting season in Scotland, which lasts until January 25, Burn’s Night. Yes I am talking about that elusive creature which is related to his American cousin the snipe. He can be found all over Scotland from Gretna Green at the Borders, to the castle in Edinburgh, as well as George Square in Glasgow. He and his brethren have been known to visit Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands as well as Belushi’s Bar in Edinburgh and often travels the cobblestone street near St Gilles scaring the tourists. He has also taken a liking to the home country’s most famous home brew and can occasionally be spotted on Islay at the Bruichladdich Whisky distillery. And who can blame him. Though his natural habitat is in the heather covered moors found throughout Scotland, he has recently taken a liking for the tidy open spaces known as golf courses at St Andrew’s as well as Geneagles. He has even occasionally been spotted on the streets of New York City in Times Square wondering what all the colonials are doing.

Now you can join in the fun thanks to THE SCOTSMAN newspaper. You must register first before you can join in the fun at / It is simple and easy to do so the whole family can join in the fun. You have only four days before the hunt begins and the prizes include a grand prize of a two day stay at the luxury hotel at Gleneagles, plus fantastic calendar and weekly prizes. Join today and you might even catch the elusive Golden Haggis.

Happy Hunting!!!



Donna Goode said...

I signed up, Jody. Thanks for the link!

Jody said...

Good Luck Donna, may you see plenty of golden haggis this season.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Fun blog. Loved the little kids.

Jody said...

Caroline, isn't that a cute video. I thought yesterday that we might sing the Haggis song at our local St Andrew's day brunch but the musicians didn't know the song. I liked it so much I got it on itunes for my ipod.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Jody, I forgot to tell you how beautiful the photo is at the top of your blog. I love the fun atmosphere, too.

Jody said...

Its a stock photo of Eilean Donan Castle in the highlands. It being the most photographed castle in all of Scotland including Edinburgh castle. I have been here a number of times but never in the winter. My second trip we were there just as the snow was covering the far reaches of the Caringroms in the eastern Highlands. Though if you have been watching the weather the Scots in Scotland are being hammered by lots of snows w which have resulted in school closers and villages being cutoff. Way to early for this kind of wather, but I am sure a result of global warming which has thrown off the weather patterns.

B. Fox said...

I have become utterly addicted to hunting haggis. I have yet to catch one in the chip factory or the St. Andrew's pic, but I still have hopes.

Jody said...

As per the Haggis Hunt, by the end of the two months you will have seen the brown and the golden Haggis in all of the picture. Not sure why the photo of the chip factory is stagnant as is the St Andrews one, possibly their cameras aren't working just yet. Keep watching.