Andrew’s night (pl. Andrzejki) is celebrated in Poland on the night of the 29th to 30th of November. This night is still connected with many old magical traditions and, of course, it’s the last chance to organize a party before the Advent starts. The name Andrzejki came from St. Andrew (pl. Święty Andrzej) – the patron of the Slavs.
In old times, the feast was only for girls. Boys had another holiday – Katarzynki. Initially, the fortune was being told only within four walls, by individual questions about the future. With time, the custom gained popularity and began to be practised in groups of both women and men.
Through the key
This is probably the most popular habit on St Andrew’s night. It involves pouring hot wax from a candle through a hole in the upper part of a key (a bow) into a pot of cold water. The figure from the congealed mass can be interpreted by looking at its shadow. This way, young girls are trying to guess how their future husband will look like. Sounds complicated? Watch the video!
Shoe by shoe
To perform this divination unmarried women should meet in a large group. Put your (only left!) shoes one by another in the direction to the door. The girl, whose shoe crosses the door will be married first.
Straight to the heart
Participants write their names on two pages – girls’ names on one page and boys’ names on the second. Turn both of them, so you can’t see the names. You can also blindfold the participants. Pierce the piece of paper with a pin to figure out with whom you will tie the knot. If you hit a blank space – you probably won’t get married at all.
By the peelings of apples
The simplest ritual to perform requires only an apple and a knife for peeling (no peeler!). Girls have to peel an apple as long as it’s possible without tearing the knife from the fruit. When the skin is cut, throw the “peeling” behind you and try to guess the first letter of the name of your future beloved.
What about the dogs?
Dogs indeed played a huge role in this feast. Young girls were listening, from which side the dog barks. That should be the direction from where the future husband arrives. You could even say, that lucky dogs had their own celebration that night. Often, the girls were baking delicious cakes, which parts were given to the dogs. The girl, whose cake was first eaten, could start preparing for the wedding.