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Andrew-tide, Feast day of St Andrew the Apostle
St Andrew the King
Three weeks and three days before Christmas begins.
So goes the old English saying. Today is St Andrew's Day (Andrew-tide or Andrewtide is the season in British parlance) in both the Western and Eastern Chrsitian traditions. Saint Andrew, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ and the brother of Simon (later the Apostle Peter), was a Galilean fisherman of Bethsaida, and originally a disciple of John the Baptist. In the Gospel of John (1:35-42), Andrew was the first called of Jesus’ disciples.
According to tradition, Andrew was crucified at Patmos, in Achaia, on the Cross Saltire, or X-shaped cross, the form of which became known as St Andrew's Cross, which is still on the Scottish (pictured above right) and British flags. The Saltire is also called the Boundary Cross (because it was used by the Romans as a barrier) and the crux decussata. Andrew's cross is the same as the cross of Wotan (Odin/Woden) which Norse invaders of Scotland carried. In Scotland it became the national symbol, as Andrew the national patron saint. Waverly Fitzgerald points out, “The cross saltire, is also a sun symbol, which looks similar to a Catherine wheel or the rune of Gefjon, the Giver, which is associated with Freya, the great Scandinavian goddess who is much honored at wintertide.”