Wednesday, 23 October 2013

St. Andrew’s Day in Scotland and in Tenerife

Scotland Fireworks at St. Andrew's Day,  Edinburgh.
credit: Grant Ritchie
 For as long as we inhabit this planet, we will always search for reasons to celebrate. Annual celebrations with historical and cultural significance in particular aim to strengthen community bonds and to preserve the collective memory and identity alive. Every nation, every culture, every group of people in this world maintain its cohesion by celebrations, specific events or even… myths! The creation of myths is necessary for writing of the history of any nation and group of people. Sometimes, it’s hard to separate myth from reality when it comes to celebrations of historical events; this is what makes people united and proud, though. 
Celebrations that bear a religious character are very significant even today, when religions aren’t as important for societies as they used to be in the old days. St. Andrew’s Day is one of these celebrations that look towards a glorified past and, at the same time, point out towards the future: Scotland will remain Scottish as long as in this particular day of the year its people will feel proud and connected with their particular history.

Scottish Flag in Scottish Skies, St. Andrew's Day
credit: Stewart White
St. Andrew’s Day is such a big day for Scotland because St. Andrew is actually the patron saint of the country. Every year, millions of Scottish take the flag of their proud country and celebrate in the streets and elsewhere what they feel it is a day for unity. St. Andrew never set foot in Scotland, but that’s somehow another story that we will leave for the historians to debunk! What’s of importance to us is that the celebration of St. Andrew takes place in Scotland since the 11th century, in one form or the other. Recently, in 2006, St. Andrew’s Day was declared a public holiday.

St. Andrews Cathedral, Scotland
credit: Daniel Peckham
The importance of St. Andrew’s Day is even greater in a Scot’s calendar, as the 30th of November is usually chosen as a day when important government announcements are made concerning the country’s future. In that sense, past, present and future are intertwined and combine each other.
It goes without a saying that the week around the 30th of November is an ideal time to visit Scotland. However, and in case you search for something more playful and warmer, why not visit Tenerife? In Tenerife they also celebrate St. Andrew’s Day in what it is to be a slightly different experience, though.

The fiesta of St. Andrew takes place mostly in the night before the 30th of November in the north of this magnificent Spanish island. In Puerto de la Cruz, which is located in the less touristic part of Tenerife, people flood the streets around midnight, ready for yet another Spanish fiesta. Little kids enjoy the freedom of the day that allows them to tie metallic objects in the back of parked cars; at the same time, adults taste the first wine of the year!
During the night of the 29th of November, wine producers from around the island bring their new wines for the people to taste along with delicious roasted chestnuts. The smell of roasted castañas will make you thirsty for more wine, just mind not to spoil your night by having too many of those glasses!

Autumn in Tenerife
photo: Zú Sánchez
Spanish are very well known for their fiestas that always tend to reveal their lightness and the playfulness of whomever is to join them at their parties. And the passionate Spaniards will never miss yet another chance for having fun! Of course, in Scotland the meaning of St. Andrew’s Days weights heavier, as we’ve already depicted: we’re dealing with Scotland’s patron saint and its national day, aiming to bring Scots together, to remind them of the glory of the country’s past. However, the Spanish fiesta and the chestnut with wine are not to be disregarded either!
It depends of your mood, after all! If you choose Tenerife for this year’s St. Andrew’s Day you will have a great chance to enjoy the sunshine and have some good old fun and, nevertheless, some brand new wine! However, in case you decide that Scotland is the best choice for you, then don’t forget bringing Scotland’s flag with you! And an umbrella! Whatever you’ll decide for, don’t hesitate to enjoy! Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. A great read here! I never knew St Andrew had never set foot in Scotland- that is bizarre. Keep up the good work Elias!