Free Entry on St. Andrew’s Day

“On St Andrew’s Day, everything is free in Scotland.  St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and entry to everything is free. Government buildings, bars, and museums are open and free. Shows and movies are free. They just want everyone to be out and celebrating.”

My friend Sarah studied abroad in Scotland for two years.  On November 30th, Scotland celebrates St. Andrew’s day, honoring the patron saint of the country.  Not only is school cancelled for the day, but all entry fees are waived at various places such as museums, movies, historic sites, castles, and bars.  She says it is to allow the country to celebrate their patron saint and not have any reason (including money) not to enjoy the day.

I find this an exciting and generous tradition of St. Andrew’s Day.  Crowds tend to build up at historic sites and allow groups to gather and celebrate their nation-state.  It is interesting that government owned buildings or sites are free which seems to solidify not only the honoring of the Saint but also the nation-state of Scotland.  This folk tradition works for the government and nation-state model of identity and self-belonging to Scotland.  People celebrate St. Andrew’s day to honor not only a saint but their identity as Scots.