First Minister Alex Salmond issued a St Andrew’s Day message today, ahead of celebration across the country to mark Scotland’s national day.
Filmed at the Old Course at St Andrews, the message gives the the First Minister the opportunity to reflect on Scotland’s great contributions to the world, the country’s strengths and how we can all “look to the future with confidence”.
The First Minister extends “best wishes” to Scotland’s friends across the globe and invites everyone to visit the country for our Winter Festival Celebrations.
Mr Salmond’s message is as follows:
“I extend to you best wishes from Scotland on the anniversary of our patron saint St Andrew.
“This is a day for everyone across Scotland, and all our friends around the world, to celebrate Scotland, our culture, our people and our many great contributions to humanity.
“And where better to greet you from than St Andrews? St Andrews is recognised as the home of golf, where it has been played for almost 600 years. It is also the home of the University of St Andrews and this year marks the 600th anniversary of this great institution – Scotland’s oldest University.
“St Andrews Day means a lot of things. It is about having fun and celebrating all that is great about Scotland. And for me, being in the historic town of St Andrews brings home some of the remarkable achievements that Scotland has shared with the world in the past and continues to contribute the world now and into the future.
“Science and innovation, where in the past we have given the world anaesthetics, antibiotics and antiseptics. And literature, with the classic poems of Robert Burns and novels of Sir Walter Scott and now their modern successors such as J.K. Rowling.
“And, of course, Scotland’s single greatest invention, universal education which contributed to our intellectual achievements in the Enlightenment and the open mindedness that has made today’s Scotland a welcoming home to so many faiths and so many cultures.
“We can look back with pride, but also forward with confidence, as we develop advances in key sectors such as renewable energy, life sciences and the creative industries.
“Scotland is recognised for all of these things, and perhaps above all, for the warm welcome we extend to all our friends from across the world.
“We saw that last year with our Homecoming festivities, this year with our celebration of Scottish Food and Drink, and we look forward to welcoming the world again in 2014 to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and to our events commemorating the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.
“And we also saw the warmth of a Scots welcome this autumn, when we welcomed His Holiness Pope Benedict the Sixteenth on his State Visit to Scotland.
“And I know from my own visits to churches, as this year we commemorated 450 years since the Scottish Reformation, and to mosques and to Scotland’s Jewish School, that this was a visit appreciated by people of all faiths and none. This reflects our modern Scotland – one nation of many cultures.
“And you can experience our warm welcome this winter. St Andrew’s Day heralds the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, a spectacular programme of events celebrating our nation’s distinct traditions and our contemporary culture.
“Festivities include our world-famous Hogmanay, our Burns’ Night, and our national day which is being celebrated across the world, from Dornoch to Doha, from Hamilton to Hawaii – and, of course, here in St Andrews itself.
“So enjoy this special day for Scotland and I hope that many of you will join us in our winter celebrations. On behalf of the people of Scotland, as Scotland’s First Minister, I send you best wishes for a wonderful St Andrew’s Day.”
Celebrations for St Andrew’s Day begin on 25 November and herald the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals which culminate with Burns’ Night on January 25.
Historic Scotland and the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions are again offering free access and two-for-one discounts at many of Scotland’s top visitor attractions on 27 and 28 November, 2010. In addition, Historic Scotland properties will have free entry on 29 November and St Andrew’s Day itself, 30 November.