Saint Andrew the Apostle is known as the “First Called” Apostle because he was the first one Jesus invited to become His apostle. He is the patron saint of Scotland and since St. Andrew was a fisherman, he is the patron saint of fisherman. But he is also the patron saint of unmarried women, young maidens and mothers-to-be!

St. Andrew’s Feast Day is November 30, and Advent is always on the Sunday nearest St. Andrew’s Day. But on St. Andrew’s Eve, many old superstitions and traditions in Poland and other Eastern European countries still are practiced and celebrated. These old beliefs are still just as mysterious as they have been for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. And for young girls, they are just as fun. St. Andrew’s Eve is the night to tell fortunes, and predict the future.

St. Andrew’s Eve is the night that young girls believe that the saint will reveal to them who and when they will marry. However, in order to ask and be answered, there are strange rituals and customs that must be observed.

Maggie Mierkowska remembers that, in the Rzeszow region, it was also believed that souls of spirits could come down and walk the earth and so bonfires were lit to scare these souls away.

The shoe ritual is very popular for fortune-telling according to Iwona Gruodis. Girls line up their shoes from the wall farthest to the front door. They take the shoe from the beginning and add it to the chain until they reach the door. The girl whose shoe touches the threshold will be married first, and soon.

Grazyna Skowron remembers that you can light a candle and ask what your future will be. You pour the wax quickly into a bowl of cold water. Some believe you should pour the wax through the eye of a key into the bowl. The strange shape that the wax takes in the bowl of water is then examined by the girl by shining a light onto it and looking at the shadow the wax casts on the wall. Is it a letter of the alphabet? That is the initial of the name of the man she will marry. Is it a ring? Then she’ll be engaged soon, and other shapes or symbols can be divined and interpreted in many ways.

What does the future hold for you?

You can find out, maybe, on St. Andrew’s Eve.

Background and text by Karen Wisniewski, 2010
Editor - Dennis Benarz