Fortune-telling on St. Andrew’s Eve

In Poland, the night between 29 and 30 of November was believed to be especially suitable for fortune-telling. It used to be celebrated by young, unmarried girls, who hoped that on St. Andrew’s Eve their future husband would be revealed. Nowadays, both men and women join the celebrations, as it is the last occasion for parties and dances before the upcoming Advent.

A maid’s dreams

It was important for every maid to remember what she dreamt about on the Andrzejki night. The man who appeared in her dreams on that night would become her husband. But if a dog appeared in her dreams, she would never get married.

A mirror at midnight

An old prophecy from Varmia and Masuria said that a maiden should sit in front of a mirror in a dark room. At midnight, an image of her future husband would appear in the mirror. But she wasn’t allowed to turn around, as she would risk seeing the devil.

Dogs and divinations

Household animals would be often used for divinations. In Mazovia, girls used to put cakes on a bench and call a dog to see whose cake it would eat first. That girl would be the first to stand on the wedding carpet.
Dogs were also useful for predicting where the future husband was supposed to come from. Girls would leave the house and listen to dogs barking. The direction from which the barking sound came would be the direction from which the boy would arrive.

Shoe racing

Maids would also put their left shoes in a line, one after another, starting from the wall and heading towards the door. Then they would move the last shoe to the front of the line, and then again and again. The owner of the shoe that reached the door first would of course be the first to get married.

Wax pouring

The main attraction during the Andrzejki celebrations, that has survived until today, is pouring hot wax into water through a keyhole to foretell the future. When the wax solidifies in cold water, it has to be illuminated to throw a shadow on the wall. The shape of the shadow is supposed to predict the future. Does it resemble a child? That’s surely a sign of parenthood. A coin maybe? That's a clear prediction of a fortune. The interpretation possibilities are unlimited.

Getting to know his name

Before going to bed, maids would put pieces of paper with different names under the pillow. In the morning, they would pull one piece of paper out to find out what their future husband’s name would be.

There were hundreds of ways to tell the future, predict whether a girl’s love life would be happy or unhappy, whether she’d be wealthy or poor. Many of them are long forgotten. But wax pouring and shoe competitions are still an entertaining element of social gatherings on Andrzejki and even school Andrzejki parties.


What else can you do?

Find out all about Polish Christmas, our customs and traditions. Learn to make some simple and beautiful ornaments.

Polish is believed to be difficult to learn. Is it really? Why don't you give it a try and see for yourself? Sign up for our basic Polish online course.

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