St. Andrew’s day (andrzejki) is celebrated in Poland on the night of th 29th and 30th of November, which is one day before St. Andrew’s actual
nameday. This is a special night, because according to tradition St. Andrew can help all the people who wants to know what the future has in store in regard to
feelings, health, finance and others.
St. Andrew’s night was celebrated since the turn of XVI and XVII centuries. Originally the main purpose of andrzejki celebrations was to predict the future of unmarried girls, especially their prospects for a good marriage.
Why Saint Andrew is a suitable prophet?
Among other things he is thesaint patron of Scotland, Romania, Russia, Greece and also patron of marriages and enamoured people. Similar traditions we have in Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Romania, Ukraine and even in Greece.
The young men used to have their fortune telling tradition on the night of St. Catherine (November 25th).
Previosly all divinations were treated really seriously. Women never invited boys for their auguries parties. The girls believed that their dreams from 29 to 30 November are prophetic. It was therefore necessary to pray to St. Andrew before going to bed. However the dream could have been disturbed by spirit, ghost, phantom or hanged man. The most effective way to avoid such things and to discourage ghosts was rabbing by garlic gates, doors and windows or swollowing three gloves of garlic before falling asleep. If a girl have seen a man in a dream – this might be her future partner. The same prophet was for young men. If a bachelor have seen white hen in a dream- it meant that he gonna meet soon a lovely girl. Black hen was a symbol of widow, owl- meant wise woman but not very beautiful.
If we look into the mirror at midnight of St.Andrew’s night, we would probably see the face of our future beloved…
Nowadays men and women can have a lot of fun at the same party trying to lift the veil of secrecy and discover what is waiting for them next year.
The most popular divination for everyone guaranting a lot of fun is pouring hot melted wax (in the past also melted tin or lead) from a candle through a key into a bawl of cold water. It’s good to organise this for the home party because we need few accessories to do everything properly like bowl, candles, the door key with hole and wall. Solidified wax is held up to the light and the divination for coming year is guessed from its shadow cast on the wall.
The lights should be off, which can help to keep an unusual atmosphere of this evening. Everyone observes the shape of the shadow from different sides to be sure of a prediction. Sometimes the shape reminds animals, flowers, sometimes the continents, country, city, car, house or any object… The good thing is that the augury is valid only one year.
If we are not happy with one predition we can try with another one. For example girls prepare pieces of papers with male first names and men do the same with girls first names. We put this under the pillow for the whole night. In the morning we pull out one piece of paper with one name- which indicates the name of our future partner. There are several variation of this game with names.
Another interesting ritual is with three cups flipped upside down to cover a ring, small coin and a piece of green plant – participants are choosing one cup and it shows their future fate- the ring signify new love, coin- prosperity in coming year, green plant is predicting the marriage and empty cup- nothing new whole next year.
We should aslo remember that when the dusk came we should listen to the dog bark – from this direction the future husband, wife or partner will come.
One more custom we can’t forget is connected with shoes. Unfortunately in this game can take part only unmarried women and men. Left shoes of all the girls are arranged one after another along the wall in a straight line and moved gradually in the same order to the door. Every participant take it’s shoe and puts it at the front of the line untill someone’s shoe reaches the door. The girl whose shoe will first cross the doorstep would be married first. We repeat the same with young men shoes.
Very interesting prediction is apply to the cards with wishes. To the bowl we put several pieces of paper with some wishes written on them. Then we slowly pour cold water into the dish. Those cards, which will float to the surface, indicate the dreams that come true soon. Those fallen on the bottom, unfortunately, will be not fulfilled soon.
Besides having good or not that good predition this magic night people have opportunity to meet and spend fantastic time with friends in a very good atmosphere. All the divinations valid only one year so there is always some hope…We don’t know why from hundreds polish traditions survived this and it’s still alive. Maybe because future is always a secret we would like to know?…