St Andrew’s day in the sun

By | Category: Travel destinations


Today, of course, is St Andrew’s Day. In Scotland flags will fly, celebrations will be enjoyed and a wee dram might be taken to keep out the cold. But not in Vanuatu where the saint’s day is celebrated as well.
There will be no need for a dram there (unless it is for celebratory purposes) since the weather will be warm. It will be about 27 degrees centigrade but there is a chance of a thunderstorm. Apart from the heat, the weather could be Scotland’s.
So why does Vanuatu – this Pacific nation paradise –honour the saint with a festival? The answer is not particularly clear. Mayumi Green, who takes visitors on tours around the islands, says that the tradition was started on Ra Island where villagers belong to the Anglican church and it certainly goes back at least a century. The assumption might be that some of the people at that time came from Scotland and introduced the saint to the locals. They were probably missionaries since part of the festival as followed today is a combination of gospel and dance. Plus food of course. Lots of it. The difference from Scotland is that the festival on Ra lasts three days not just the one.
There is at least one other Scottish link. Captain Cook renamed this group of islands New Hebrides It must have been the landscape that prompted him to call it this rather than the weather. And it’s the weather that makes this a very popular destination not just for countries nearby like Australia and New Zealand but increasingly from people across the world. Diving is popular (there is the wreck of the American ship, “President Coolidge that is easily accessible) as are all outdoor water sports. And who could resist the lure of a south sea island beach.
During the festival, visitors will be able take to take part in a method of traditional fishing. A long fishing method created by coconut leaves tied together will stretch for a kilometre. After the fishing the catch will cooked and served to all visitors included.
What you can be sure of though is that here the links to Scotland have ceased. Eating will be outside. Try doing that in Scotland today.
So where would you prefer to spend St Andrew’s Day if you could?
For more on Vanuatu, click here
For more on the tours provided by Mayumi Green, click here

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