St Andrew has been associated with Scotland for more than a millennium.
Legend has it that relics of the Apostle, who was crucified in Patras in
Greece, were first brought to Scotland as early as the seventh or eighth century.
A monk known as St Rule (or St Regulus) dreamt that St Andrew's remains
were to be moved from their tomb and on the directions of an angel took
them as far away as he could for safe-keeping.
After a lengthy voyage St Rule was shipwrecked on the east coast of
Scotland at Muckross, (later Cill Rimhinn and now St Andrews) in Fife
where, with the support of a Pictish king, he is said to have established
a church and created the link between St Andrew and Scotland.
An alternative explanation is that the relics were brought to St
Andrews by the Bishop of Hexham who gave them to the Pictish King Angus.
Either way St Andrews became a major religious centre and St Andrew's
relics were enshrined within a church there. They were later kept within
the magnificent confines of the great Cathedral of St Andrews.
The link between Scotland and St Andrew is also evident in another
legend which offers an explanation of the adoption of the cross of St
Andrew as the basis for the Scottish national flag.
When St Andrew was martyred he is said to have been crucified on an
X-shaped cross as he believed himself unworthy of dying in the same way as
Centuries later just before an important battle St Andrew appeared in a
dream to King Angus and told him victory was his. On the day of the battle
itself a white X-shaped cross appeared against the blue sky in front of
the king's army. Believing they had God and St Andrew on their side the
Pictish army was indeed victorious.
A grateful King Angus donated a tenth of his wealth to the glory of St
Andrew and encouraged the dedication of churches to the Apostle. He was
also later baptized by St Regulus at St Andrews. More relics of St Andrew,
who was a brother of St Peter, were given to Scotland in 1874 and again in
1969 by the Vatican.
St Andrew's Day may be fundamentally a religious day devoted to
remembering the first Apostle but it has now also become a day dedicated
to celebrating Scottish traditions and culture. St Andrew's Day
festivities in Scotland and abroad frequently feature Scottish traditional
food, music, songs, poetry and