First Minister Alex Salmond has used his St Andrew’s Day message to highlight Scotland’s proud history of invention and discovery as he extended a warm invite for overseas visitors to join in the country’s Winter Festival celebrations.
Recorded at Lochgelly Primary School in Fife following an invitation from a primary six pupil for the First Minister to visit, the message focuses on the impact the Scottish innovation of universal free education has had on Scotland’s history and the importance the excellent work being done in schools across Scotland has for our future.
During the message the First Minister is seen watching the school’s country dance practice and leading discussion on St Andrew before sending his warmest wishes to Scots and Scots at heart on the occasion of the national day.
Mr Salmond uses the film to extend an invite to the world to visit Scotland and join in our Winter Festival Celebrations, which run from St Andrew’s Day through Christmas and Hogmanay, then right through to Burns Night at the end of January.
The First Minister says:
“St Andrew’s Day is a very special day in Scotland. A day when we celebrate Scotland’s history, our people, our culture, but above all a celebration of our people.
“Scotland is proud of its history of invention and discovery. We actually invented quite a bit of the modern world, from the telephone, to television to penicillin to beta blockers. However, perhaps – actually certainly – our greatest invention of all, the one that made all of the others possible, was the invention of universal free education.”
“It’s fantastic to see schools like this encouraging the next generation of Scots to be inventive and creative. These are all deep seated characteristics of our nation and they will be as essential to our future success as they have been to our historic achievements.
“St Andrew’s Day is a great time to reflect on these characteristics. It marks the beginning of Scotland’s winter festivals where we welcome visitors from around the world to enjoy Scotland’s rich culture, heritage and our hospitality.
“You can ring in the new year at the home of Hogmanay and you can celebrate Burns night in the land of his birth. Throughout the whole of 2013, we will be celebrating our Year of Natural Scotland when we highlight Scotland’s landscapes, our scenery, our wildlife to people in Scotland and of course to visitors from round the world.
“So enjoy this special day for Scotland and I hope that many of you will join us over the next two years. On behalf of the people of Scotland, as Scotland’s First Minister I send you our best wishes for a wonderful St Andrew’s Day.”
Celebrations for St Andrew’s Day herald the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals which culminate with Burns’ Night on January 25.
New for this year, the successful Visit for Free programme has been expanded to include sports centres as well as visitor attractions and community events. Famous attractions including Edinburgh’s Our Dynamic Earth, Inverness’s Highland Wildlife Park, Aberdeen’s Sports Village and Glasgow’s Tall Ships are offering free or discounted entry.
A St Andrew’s Day highlight will be Scotland Sings, a celebration of community singing, they will see choirs take to the streets across the country with events in Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and Paisley.
Following last year’s popular event, Edinburgh Castle Esplanade will be the setting for a spectacular St Andrew’s Day Celebrations at the Castle, with an evening of contemporary dance, lights and fireworks on November 30.
A free iPhone and Android app is also available from Scotland.org to allow searches for events in Scotland and to find out what is happening across the rest of the world to celebrate Scotland’s national day.