The end of November is the traditional start of Winter north of the border and the first of three landmark days in Scottish culture – St Andrews Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night.
As with many patron saints, St Andrew’s association with Scotland – a land he never visited – is shrouded in folklore, poetic licence and a sprinkling of truth.
Ideal for story telling whilst huddled round a fire on a winter night with some tasty food and perhaps a nip of malt, the legend of St Andrew explains an ancient link between Scotland and Greece and the origins of the saltire, the cross at the centre of the Scottish flag.
Andrew was an apostle who set out to spread the word round the villages and towns of the Black Sea. This may explain why he is also the patron saint of Russia and Romania but why Scotland?
Well, the story goes that Andrew was crucified for his beliefs at Patras in Greece on an x –shaped cross, the origins of the saltire. His bones were preserved but 300 years later the local Bishop Regulus, also known as St Rule, received word that soldiers were coming to seize the bones.
He fled with some of the relics and set sail westwards where he was carried by the waves until shipwrecked off the Scottish coast. There he built a Church to house the relics and around it sprang the town we now know as St Andrews.
Fast forward 500 years and King Angus, leader of the Scottish tribes, found himself heavily outnumbered at East Lothian by an army of Saxons. Looking to the sky for inspiration, he saw in the blinding light of the rising sun, the saltire cross. This inspired his troops and following a great victory St Andrew and the saltire became national symbols for the emerging nation.
Of course when huddled round the fire such stirring tales always go down better with a bite to eat and at SK we have the perfect choice. As with St Andrew, our party bites, which include haggis bon bons and Mediterranean falafals link the varied and fascinating folklore of Scotland and Greece.