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Called Saint Andrew’s Day, it’s celebrated in many European countries.
According to the old tradition, the afterhours of Dec.12 – 13 are the best time to mess with Mother Nature and get some valuable information out of it.
In Scotland, Greece, and Romania, one of Christ’s 12 disciples – Andrew, is honored in church prayers, pubs and even a bank holiday, depending on where you go.
In Ukraine and some other countries of continental Europe, however, the holiday is associated more with magic than religion.
The reason is quite simple:
With the advent of Christianity, churches adopted some elements of cult and folk tradition to coerce pagans into the new religion.
This didn’t work much with St. Andrew’s Day, previously known as the Kalyta holiday, celebrating the sun fading away at the end of autumn.
In some parts of western Ukraine, some old traditions are still alive and kicking. Methods are many: from throwing a boot over a rooftop to whispering chants in candlelight. The goal is simple though: to find out who’ll be your husband.
On separate pieces of paper, write 12 wishes and put them under your pillow. In the morning, pull out any three and they are the ones supposed to come true.
– If you want a spookier ceremony, place one big and one small mirror in front of one another with candles in between.
Keep looking into the big mirror, without taking your eyes off it.
At midnight, say:
“My betrothed come to me!” You are then supposed to see a long corridor lit by the candles on both sides. Try to remember some items in this image as they can give you a clue to your future and your fiancee.
– Or you may want to take a piece of paper and partially burn it on a plate. It may get a bit tricky, but what you need next is to place ashes between a lamp and the wall.
The shape of its shadow may give you a clue what to expect in the future.
Most likely modern men wouldn’t bother betting on ash shadows or mirrors to know what’s coming for them next. Neither did their ancestors.
They resorted to more manly and fun things such as stealing neighbors’ carts and horses. In 2012, men are more likely to blow off steam in night clubs and pubs.
Speaking about parties, it was traditional to attend a Ukrainian-style home gathering on St. Andrew’s called vechornytsi.
Back then, the venue was the house of a well-respected woman in the village, who was trusted by other elders to chaperon the youth.
Prior to the party, each girl had to cook varenyky (stuffed dumplings) and decorate them with intricate patterns. Placed on a traditional embroidered towel, they were first offered to a dog. The girl whose varenyk was eaten first was considered the one to get married first.
Another archaic attribute of the holiday was a big round honey cake with a whole in the middle called kalyta. It symbolized the earth and the sun.
Young men brought ribbons and sweets to offer in exchange for the cake. After some bargaining, the women would suspend kalyta on the red ribbon attached to a long stick.
Lads were expected to answer quiz questions and then compete in biting the bread. The man who managed to answer the trickiest questions and bite off the biggest chunk off kalyta was believed to be ready to get married.
This Kintore & Ellon Pipe Bands plus load of kids from various local youth groups turning out in attrocious weather to celebrate Scotlands’ Day – St Andrews’ Day