Happy St Andrew’s Eve!


All this talk of Thanksgiving reminded me that we have a special Scottish holiday this week too. Today is the Eve of our patron saint’s day – St Andrew. So I thought I’d share some of the traditions of the day with you…until I realised I couldn’t actually think of any (unless you count the tradition of forgetting about the day completely).

Nothing daunted, I set off to find out what we’ve missing all these years, and as always Google came up trumps by directing me to scotland.org. And it turns out there are some traditions after all…

(All quotes in blue are taken from the scotland.org site)

Around midnight on November 29, it was traditional for girls to pray to St Andrew for a husband. They would make a wish and look for a sign that they had been heard.

A girl wishing to marry could:

* * * * * * * * *


Throw a shoe at a door. If the toe of the shoe pointed in the direction of the exit, then she would marry and leave her parents house within a year.


(Be careful though – if you break the door, you may find you are forced to leave much sooner than you expected…)

* * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * *


Peel a whole apple without breaking the peel and throw the peel over the shoulder. If the peel formed a letter of the alphabet, then this suggested the name of her future groom.

(Presumably this is why the name Hamish went out of fashion…)

* * * * * * * * *

apple peel


* * * * * * * * *


German folklore advises single women who wish to marry to ask for St Andrew’s help. The night before the 30th, if they sleep naked, they will see their future husbands in their dreams.

(That’s assuming you avoid contracting pneumonia…)

* * * * * * * * *

What? Were you really expecting a picture of a naked woman?
What? Were you really expecting a picture of a naked woman?


* * * * * * * * *


Young women should also note the location of barking dogs on St Andrew’s Eve, as their future husbands will come from that direction.

(Though if he’s being chased by dogs, there’s a good chance he’s a wanted criminal…)

* * * * * * * * *

'Evenin', all!'
‘Evenin’, all!’


* * * * * * * * *


St Andrew is also expected to look after gout, singers, sore throats, stiff necks, unmarried women, women who wish to become mothers, fish dealers, fishmongers, fishermen, old maids and more!

(Feel free to leave a comment advising which of these categories you fall into…)

* * * * * * * * *

Cartoon by Adrian Teal
Cartoon by Adrian Teal


* * * * * * * * *


Many people wonder what they should eat on St Andrew’s Day. Any traditional Scottish food is fine – haggis, neeps and tatties is enduringly popular. It used to be that a singed sheep’s head was traditional!

(Suddenly haggis is sounding more appealing…)

* * * * * * * * *

Mmm...doesn't that look...er...yummy...
Mmm…doesn’t that look…er…yummy…


* * * * * * * * *


So sweet dreams tonight, folks – I think we all know who I’ll be dreaming about…

* * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * *



36 thoughts on “Happy St Andrew’s Eve!

  1. FictionFan – Oh, these are really interesting. I find it fascinating how many of them have to do with finding a husband. Oh, and as to categories? Well…people have told me I give them a pain in the.. neck, was it? 😉 – So perhaps St. Andrew will look after the people I encounter…

  2. Some interesting similarities with Romanian customs: we have the shoe thing too and the dreaming of your future husband – although in the balmier temperature of Midsummer Eve (and with St. John’s Wort under your pillow).

  3. 😆 How wild!

    What a shoe. This professor finds it hard to believe anyone wears such a contraption!

    I think the professor is a fishmonger. It just sounds very professorish. And the haggis actually looks tasty. The professor would try it.

    As for himeth–yucketh! 😛

    • Oddly enough, I seem to be developing a sore throat at the moment – is he getting his own back for my mockery, do you think? 😉

      The haggis looks revolting! How could you possibly not like turkey and yet find that tasty-looking? We really ought to swap holidays…

      Jealous – simply jealous!

  4. I know about the apple peel but I’ve never heard it being associated with St Andrew before. Perhaps as a good Yorkshire lass I have simply never looked that far north.

    PS. Can I have the puppies, please.

    • The apple peel sounded familiar to me too, but I thought it was to do with Hallowe’en. I suspect scotland.org couldn’t find any real traditions…

      They’re gorgeous, aren’t they? 😀

  5. I’m going to a ceilidh tomorrow, where we will be eating Sheep’s Heid broth, haggis, neeps and tatties, and crannachan. and then we’re expected to dance. I won’t be throwing any shoes though, or shedding any garments – marriage isn’t worth it. Slainte mhor!

  6. I’m Scottish and I have not heard of any of these traditions. There was a time when I loved Haggis but they are now an endangered species so I now only eat vegetarian haggis. But on this day let us be reminded why the Scots made the world a better place. We invented or discovered the following; Television, telephone, penicillin, insulin, Bakelite, steam engine, fax machine, refrigerators, microwave oven, pneumatic tyres and the list goes on. Slainte!

  7. LOL! From now on I declare myself a fan of Scottish traditions! Although, I wouldn’t dare to sleep naked in November in Scotland. From what I’ve heard, it’s not exactly the Caribbean up there… 😉

  8. Sorry I missed Saint Andrews FF. Had i remembered I would have had vegetarian haggis (oh yes you can) neeps (lovely!) and tatties and gone and found a wild bagpiper to pipe in the vegetarian haggis.

    PS It appears to be snowing on your site – now, if you could only get the snow to materialise as chocolate, or even chocolate whisky liqueurs……….

  9. I’d prefer the puppies, too. They would keep me much warmer in the thick of winter. Or perhaps the kitten and the puppies.

    Another note about less well-known holidays— have you heard of Tom Bawcock’s Eve, a holiday in Cornwall? There’s a beautifully illustrated children’s book about a fisherman and his cat who saves the town from starvation by facing the ferocious storm cat. Tom’s cat sings to put the storm cat to sleep, Tom catches fish and returns to town, whereupon everyone feasts on Stargazy Pie (fish pie). The town is illuminated with lanterns to show Tom the way home. It looks lovely. The pie, on the other hand, looks a little too much for me. I don’t like being stared at by my food.

    Pass the chocolate liqueurs, please.

    • The kitten is gorgeous – I’ve pointed it out to T&T and asked them why they don’t look as cute as that. My wounds should heal soon…

      Now that’s a much more interesting holiday – especially since I believe I’m 1/32nd Cornish. They still serve stargazy pie down there (probably for the tourist trade only), but I’m with you. These rustic dishes are a little too obviously dead things for my liking…

      Sorry, LF’s eaten them all again!

Please leave a comment - I'd love to know who's visiting and what you think...of the post, of the book, of the blog, of life, of chocolate...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.