Every year, St Andrew’s Day garners feasts and celebrations across the nation. It’s a time of compassion, reflection and good fun. This year at the Centre, we’re celebrating our national holiday with two Ceilidhs – a family Ceilidh for all the family and a Ceilidh House to close the day – as well as a multi-sensory storytelling session! There’s something for everyone as we come together to celebrate Scotland’s patron saint, who was known for being fair, generous and inclusive. As we draw nearer to winter, St Andrew’s Day presents an opportunity for families, friends and strangers alike to come together in celebration and to give back, all to honour St Andrew’s legacy.
Despite being Scotland’s patron saint, St Andrew never actually set foot in Scotland and was born in Galilee (present day Northern Israel). Before becoming one of Jesus’s twelve apostles, along with his brother, St Peter, our patron saint was a fisherman. According to legend, his relics were brought here by a monk, Saint Regulus. He had a vision of an angel who instructed him to take St Andrew’s relics – his right hand, the upper right bone of his arm, one of his kneecaps and one of his teeth – to “the end of the world” so he took them to the city of St Andrews, and we’ve been celebrating the saint ever since!
It’s no wonder St Andrew is the cause of so many festivities here in Scotland, our national flag, The Saltire is also called ‘St Andrew’s Cross’. Why? Because when St Andrew was sentenced to death, he refused to be crucified on the same cross as Jesus as he didn’t think he was worthy and instead requested a diagonal cross, which now features on the flag. Bonus fact: the Scottish flag is thought to be the oldest in Europe!
St Andrew’s Fair Saturday: Raising Awareness for Help Musicians UK
In our second year of participating in Fair Saturday, a global movement dedicated to creating positive social impact through arts and culture, we’re teaming up with Help Musicians UK, who provide practical and positive support to musicians at any stage in their career. Throughout this day of dedicated celebrations, we will raise awareness and funds of the worthwhile work they continue to do for musicians.
Suzanne Miller, Help Musicians UK Office Manager, says:
“As far back as 1000 AD, international feasts and celebrations have been held in St Andrew’s honour across the globe. And as with any celebration, storytelling through music has kept the compassion and philanthropy of St. Andrew at the forefront of these festivities. This history of generosity and supporting people to flourish is very close to our heart as a charity.”
“For nearly 100 years Help Musicians have been providing a lifetime of support, when it’s needed most, to Scotland’s musicians and music creators. Without the time, dedication and talent of our country’s musicians and music creators, celebrations such as this one wouldn’t happen. With Help Musicians support through health and welfare grants, 24/7 mental health access, hearing health schemes as well as creative development funds our holistic approach enables Scotland’s musicians to thrive.”
Celebrating Inclusivity with Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes
One of St Andrew’s defining characteristics was his dedication to inclusion wherever his travels took him, matching the ethos of the Scottish Storytelling Centre as a truly inclusive and accessible venue. At 11am, come along to Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes, a multi-sensory storytelling session that is particularly suited for children with additional needs and their families and friends. Join storyteller Ailie Finlay as she takes you on a hands-on journey full of stories, games and plenty of opportunities to join in the fun!
As a Scottish Storytelling Forum Directory storyteller, Ailie is no stranger to the Centre. She has worked as a storytelling and puppeteer for over 20 years and is particularly interested in storytelling for people with additional needs, rooted in the belief that to listen to and tell stories is a fundamental human experience that no one should go without.
“I believe very strongly that Scotland’s old tales are for everyone! It is particularly important to remember this on our national day. I have adapted the stories in Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes from traditional tales to make them multi-sensory, bouncy, tickly and squidgy! I’ve included big bold colours, smells and lots of tactile props to make sure that this St Andrews day session really reaches out to everyone. It will be fun for all but is particularly designed with children with additional needs in mind.”
The selection of stories at this event link to the new downloads of inclusive sensory stories available on the TRACS website.
Following a morning of storytelling adventures with Ailie Finlay, we are hosting a Family Ceilidh for your little ones at 2pm. After all, our St Andrew’s Day events wouldn’t be complete without an opportunity for all ages to join in on the St Andrew’s Day dance, song and story fun!
The Perfect Way to Close the Day: The Ceilidh House
Our St Andrew’s Day Ceildh House at 7.30pm will close our day of specially organised events. The word ‘Ceilidh’ stems from the old Irish céle, meaning ‘companion’, which later evolved to céilidhe or céilidh, meaning ‘to visit’. With a strong sense of community in mind, our Ceilidh House looks to older traditions and incorporates music and storytelling in addition to dance. At the heart of it, our Ceilidh House is a unique opportunity for masses to join from far and near to sing, laugh and dance to honour St Andrew’s spirit. As part of our line-up of events, we’re welcoming contributions from dancer Alison Carlyle, musician Sarah Hoy and singer and storyteller Claire McNicol.
Dancer Alison Carlyle says:
“St Andrew’s Day is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on our fantastic traditions of music, song, dance and language. The handing down of stories and legends associated with St Andrew is part of the broader transmission of cultural traditions over generations. The sense of community that this creates is still so relevant to our modern society.”
“I will be dancing to strathspeys and reels, using the rhythms of the feet as a percussive accompaniment to the music. In my stepdancing, I will be blending some of the oldest steps handed down over hundreds of years with new steps written in the tradition. Stepdance was largely lost in Scotland but kept alive by those who emigrated to Nova Scotia and subsequently reintroduced by them in the 1990s. It was other Scottish emigrants to North America who instigated the custom of celebrating St Andrew on 30th November, so it’s fitting that these two traditions come together on this night.”
Join our exciting line-up of events on November 30, as we raise awareness of a worthwhile cause through Fair Saturday and celebrate Scotland’s place as an outward looking nation and our strong tradition of song, dance and story, while reflecting on our patron saint’s powerful legacy.
Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes
Sat 30 Nov | 11am (45mins) | £5 per child | All Ages
Sat 30 Nov | 2pm (1hr 30) | £5 (£4.50 SCS)
The Ceilidh House
Sat 30 Nov | 7.30pm (2hrs) | £10 (£8) (£7.50 SCS)