St Andrew's Day

In short...

Themes: St Andrew's Day; patron saints; celebrating special days.

Summary: This assembly is suitable for the days preceding St Andrew's Day (30th November) and the actual day itself. At its heart is a short CBeebies film about two young boys celebrating St Andrew's Day in their home town - St Andrews in Scotland. It marks the importance of the patron saints and the celebration of special days.

Resources: the framework to download / print (pdf) and an image of the ruins of St Andrew's Cathedral.

The video

Two young brothers, George and Archie, welcome us to their home town - St Andrews. It is St Andrew's Day (30th November) and the two boys are getting ready to celebrate.

After breakfast they get dressed in traditional clothes (kilts) and go to church where they are doing a reading. Later they take some shortbread to their elderly neighbour.

Then, in the evening, George and Archie head for the town centre with their parents to join in with the celebrations - including traditional music and dancing.

Duration: 4' 22"

End of speech: 'It's great to celebrate! Bye!'

Video questions

  • What do Archie and George eat for breakfast? (Porridge - made from oats mixed with milk)
  • What special clothes do the two boys wear? (Kilts worn with traditional Scottish dress)
  • How do Archie and George surprise their neighbour, Margaret? (They bring her some shortbread they have made)
  • What celebrations do the boys see in town after dark? (Traditional music (a pipe band) / traditional dancing ('ceilidh') / fire dancers / the ruins of the cathedral lit up for a special presentation)

Key links

Assembly framework (pdf)
Image: St Andrew's Cathedral

Suggested framework

1. Entry music
Do an online search for traditional Scottish music.

2. Introduction
Ask the children if anyone knows what a patron saint is? Lead the responses towards understanding that a patron saint is a saint who has a special meaning for a particular place or group of people - often a country. Tell the children that each saint has their own special day and that today is / soon it will be St Andrew's Day. St Andrew is particularly celebrated in Scotland - he is the patron saint of Scotland. Ask the children if they know anything about St Andrew. Lead the responses towards understanding that St Andrew is the first of the 12 disciples of Jesus. There's a story that St Andrew travelled across Europe spreading the word of Jesus and that he built a church in Scotland in a place that is now named after him - St Andrews. Every year the people of St Andrew's celebrate their special connection with the saint. Tell the children that the short video will show two children from St Andrews celebrating on St Andrew's Day.

3. The video
Play the video. The duration is 4'22" and the final words are: 'It's great to celebrate! Bye!'

4. After the video
You could use the Video questions (above) to help children recall the details of the film:
1. What do George and Archie eat for breakfast?
2. What special clothes do they put on?
3. How do they surprise their elderly neighbour?
4. What celebrations do they see in town with their parents?
5. What is the name of a traditional Scottish dance?

5. Time to talk
Return to the historical perspective. Andrew was a fisherman and became the very first disciple of Jesus. There is a famous story about Andrew from the Bible. One day Andrew and his brother, Simon, were fishing - but each time they pulled in their nets they were empty. Jesus appeared on the shore about to address a big crowd of people. The brothers rowed him out so that the crowd could see Jesus and afterwards their nets were full of fish. Andrew and Simon left everything to become followers of Jesus. After Jesus died Andrew travelled spreading the word of Jesus...even though it meant putting himself in danger.

6. Opportunity to sing
Suggestions from BBC Collections below: 'Being a friend' (Andrew was a faithful friend to Jesus) and 'Give me oil in my lamp' (Andrew's determination to spread Jesus' teachings and celebrate the 'King of Kings').

7. Opportunity to reflect
Today we have heard about St Andrew - someone who gave up everything to follow Jesus and someone who had the courage to spread the courage of Jesus - even when it meant putting himself in danger...
And we've seen how the people like to celebrate the life of St Andrew in the town that is named after him...
Think about the different ways that Archie and George celebrated in the film...
If you could celebrate the life of someone who is very special to you who would it be..?
And how would you choose to celebrate them?

8. Opportunity for prayer
Use your usual form of address ('Dear God', 'Lord Jesus' etc) and:
Thank you for special days when we can celebrate the lives of special people.
Help each of us to see the special people around us...
...and find ways, both big and small, to celebrate those people as well.

Suggested songs

Song: 'Being a friend' (All about our school, no 8. Vocal version)

Song: 'Give me oil in my lamp' (Come and Praise, no 43. Vocal version)