St Patrick's day gets a lot of attention and people all over the world celebrate the Irish national holiday. Not many countries around the world have a national day like St Paddy's and Scotland's St Andrew doesn't garner quite the global holiday that Halloween is, but it's actually celebrated in a lot more countries than you would think.
If there's anything that Scottish people love more than Andy Murray, it's actually being from Scotland. England has St George, Wales has St David and Ireland has St Patrick, of course. Scotland's patron saint has a foot in a fair few countries around the world but St Andrew is celebrated in true style by the Scots. Our national day takes its name from St Andrew the Apostle who was a fisherman and disciple of Jesus Christ. St Andrew's day in Scotland is a time of celebrations, ceilidh dancing and showing our love for the saltire so if you're heading to Scotland around the 30th of November be prepared to get involved. But we're not the only country who celebrate St Andrew - these other countries also want to claim him for themselves.
Romania is a country not unlike Scotland in that it's a bit cold, but what Scotland doesn't generally have is scorching hot summers, something Romanians are used to; be warned if you're heading to Romania in the summer months, you will need sun lotion. Instead celebrations and saltire waving, Romania has very different St Andrews day traditions. They say that if single girls place a branch of sweet basil under their pillow and someone takes it in their dreams, that they will be married soon. It's all very intriguing and who knows, your sweet basil branch in the name of St Andrew could lead to a whole different kind of celebration: just remember if you're getting married in Romania you'll need a whole host of different documents, so if you're planning your nuptials don't forget your passport.
Beautiful Greece also holds St Andrew in some significance. The name Andrew relates to the Greek word 'man' or 'manly' and for their child to live up to the name would have been the hope for the parents of Andrew as a new born. There are two churches built in St Andrew's name in the Greek town of Patras where he was supposedly crucified. The way in which Patras celebrates the life of St Andrew is slightly more unorthodox than our traditions, with the church containing a shrine which holds parts of the apostle's body as well as pieces of the cross on which he was crucified - spooky. If you are planning on visiting, pay attention to local laws and regulations and make sure to be respectful of religious traditions - not everywhere in Greece is like the Zante strip.
The first thing you think of when you think of Barbados is probably Rihanna, carnivals and beaches, but the country also celebrates St Andrew on its Day of National Independence. St Andrew is included in the Barbados coat of arms and people credited in the country are made Knights or Dames in the name of St Andrew. Again, there is an absolute cacophony of different celebratory traditions that go hand in hand with St Andrews, and Barbados don't seem to do small parties. This year is the 51st anniversary of Bajan independence. There is an annual parade attended by thousands of people which incorporates dancing, exotic costumes and live music. If you are looking to head to the Caribbean this St Andrews day, you'll definitely need some sun protection and with all that vigorous dancing going on I'd recommend taking out some comprehensive travel insurance.
Wherever you decide to spend St Andrews Day this year be organised and diligent, if you do choose to go abroad ensure you have the correct insurance, keep your passport safe and be sure to consult the Foreign Office's travel advice before and during your trip.