St. Andrew's Eve

St. Andrew's Eve (Noc Swietego Andreja)

November 29
The eve of St. Andrew's Day is a special night for young Polish girls who want to find husbands. They play Andrzejki, or "Andrew's games," a kind of fortune telling. Young girls break off dry branches from cherry trees, place them in wet sand, and tend them carefully for the next few weeks. If the branch blooms by Christmas, it is believed that they will marry within the year. Pouring liquid wax into cold water is another popular method of foretelling their romantic futures. The shapes into which the wax hardens often provide clues with which they can read their fate. The boys try to foretell their own futures on St. Catherine's Eve ( see also St. Catherine's Day, November 25).
The patron saint of both Russia and Scotland, St. Andrew's name means "manly" or "courageous," making him an appropriate target for the appeals of young girls seeking lovers. Andrzejki are popular among Polish Americans as well, where they include peeling apples to see what letter the apple peel seems to form when thrown over the peeler's left shoulder.
Austrian peasant women also forced fruit tree branches, but they brought them to Christmas mass and believed they gave them the ability to see all the witches in the congregation.
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 448
OxYear-1999, p. 478
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
30 St. Andrew's Eve; birthday in 1835 of Mark Twain; birthday in 1874 of Winston Churchill.