St Andrew’s Day offers a programme of poetry, song and dance
2010 National Day a far cry from mince and tatties, a malt and the latest Broons annual
Kirstin Innes gets her bunnet on, Dashes up her White Sergeant and embraces St Andrew’s Day wholeheartedly.
Let’s face it. There is no way that St Andrew’s Day celebrations will ever, ever be cool, and no special guest appearances by Amy Macdonald or thon wee laddie fae West Lothian who won the X Factor are ever, ever going to change that. Processed that? Good. Shuck off the skinny jeans (you can’t Strip the Willow in drainpipes, hipster kids) and the sneer for one weekend this year, and let’s revel in the unashamedly kitschy, sentimental, tartan-tastic, sweat-drenched ceilidhoscope of our national day. (OK, two to five days, depending on how enthusiastic your local council is.)
In Edinburgh, they love an excuse to get out into the streets and call it a festival, and this year, the eager little beavers on the east coast have rather fittingly booked out the whole of St Andrew Square (geddit? Oh, never mind) for the pleasingly self-explanatory Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Day Celebrations (27-30 Nov). Essentially, turning up outside Harvey Nicks at any time of the day or early evening, you ought to encounter a programme of poetry, song and dance. At the Scottish Parliament, get into the mood with some ‘interactive Jacobite Drama’ (no, us neither, but we’re kind of excited) and storytelling sessions (26-29 Nov).
Glasgow, going for an ‘ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ outlook, are wheeling out the deservedly popular Shindig (George Square, 27-28 Nov) for another outing: Saturday night is a free concert featuring some of Scotland’s rockingest trad and folk acts, while on Sunday the whole square hosts a day-long, family-friendly ceilidh. Hoots.
St Andrews wins our Best St Andrew’s Celebration gong this year (eagle-eyed viewers may note they had a bit of an advantage with the whole name thing anyway). The St Andrews Festival (26–30 Nov) is a four-day-long ceilidh, in both the modern and traditional senses of the word, with over 50 outdoor gigs, food tasting sessions, torchlit processions, craft workshops and endless opportunities to get your Gay Gordons on packed into one weekend. They also win a prize for having an informative, easy to use website — still a rarity in St Andy’s circles: www.standrewsfestival.co.uk. If that’s tempted you to wander further afield over the weekend, Historic Scotland have very sweetly waived the entrance fee on a huge number of their properties, from Skara Brae to Stirling Castle for the duration of the festivities. Indulge all that suddenly-swelling patriotism by exploring your heritage – full details at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/freeweekend.
Alternatively, you could pull a Fair Isle knit over your simmet, scowl at they noisy weans down the close, and lock yourself indoors with a malt, mince and tatties, the latest Broons annual and a Rab C Nesbitt box set. It’s probably what St Andrew himself would have wanted.
Basic listings for most St Andrew’s events in the country can be found at www.scotlandswinterfestivals.com, but if possible check with the venue websites for full details.