Saint Andrew’s Day, celebrated on November 30 every year, is a national day of Scotland that honours its patron saint. On this occasion, Alyn Smith, the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture in the Scottish Government, shared his views on why Saint Andrew is the key to Scotland’s national story.
Saint Andrew: A symbol of unity and diversity
According to Smith, Saint Andrew represents the values and aspirations of the Scottish people, as well as their connections with the wider world. He said that Saint Andrew was a “traveller, a storyteller, a bridge-builder and a peacemaker”, who embodied the spirit of “inclusion, openness and generosity” that Scotland cherishes.
Smith also pointed out that Saint Andrew was not only the patron saint of Scotland, but also of several other countries, such as Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Cyprus. He said that this reflected the diversity and multiculturalism of Scotland, which welcomes people from different backgrounds and cultures. He added that Scotland was proud of its “European and international identity”, and that it wanted to “play a positive role in the world”.
Saint Andrew: A source of inspiration and innovation
Smith also highlighted the role of Saint Andrew in inspiring and fostering innovation and creativity in Scotland. He said that Saint Andrew was a “pioneer, a visionary, a leader and a learner”, who encouraged the Scots to “think big, act boldly and challenge ourselves”. He said that Scotland was a “nation of innovators”, who had contributed to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and humanities.
Smith also mentioned some of the examples of Scottish innovations and achievements, such as the discovery of penicillin, the invention of the telephone, the development of the steam engine, the creation of the television, the establishment of the first public library, the founding of the first national park, and the hosting of the first international arts festival. He said that these were the “legacies of Saint Andrew”, who inspired the Scots to “make a difference in the world”.
Saint Andrew: A celebration of culture and community
Smith also emphasised the importance of Saint Andrew’s Day as a celebration of Scotland’s culture and community. He said that Saint Andrew’s Day was a “time to reflect, to rejoice and to reconnect” with the Scottish heritage and identity. He said that Scotland had a “rich and diverse culture”, which included its languages, music, literature, arts, food, drink, sports and traditions.
Smith also invited people to join the celebrations of Saint Andrew’s Day, which were taking place across Scotland and online. He said that there were various events and activities planned for the occasion, such as concerts, workshops, exhibitions, talks, quizzes, games, storytelling, poetry, dance, comedy and more. He said that these were the “ways of celebrating Saint Andrew”, who brought the Scots together as a “community of communities”.
Saint Andrew: A vision of the future
Smith also expressed his hopes and aspirations for the future of Scotland, in the light of Saint Andrew’s Day. He said that Saint Andrew’s Day was a “moment to look ahead, to dream and to aspire” for a better Scotland and a better world. He said that Scotland had a “vision of the future”, which was based on the principles of “democracy, equality, human rights, social justice, peace and sustainability”.
Smith also reaffirmed Scotland’s commitment to the values and goals of the European Union, which he said were “aligned with those of Saint Andrew”. He said that Scotland wanted to “remain close to our European friends and partners”, and that it hoped to “rejoin the EU as an independent member state”. He said that this was the “ambition of Saint Andrew”, who urged the Scots to “shape our own destiny”.