Andrzejki (St. Andrews Day) on the night of November 29 is full of magical Slavic customs and fortune-telling. According to beliefs, it is the last day of the year that “allows” a night full of fun. The origins of this holiday date back to ancient Greece, where the inhabitants were very serious about celebrating the name of Andreas. Over time, St. Andrew’s fortune-telling became the domain of Slavic culture, which has left its mark on our calendar to this day. As part of St. Andrew’s celebration, we have prepared a post for you that will not only let you feel the magical aura, but most of all will present the beliefs related to … linen!
LINEN CAN PREDICT FUTURE
According to folk beliefs, linen can predict love and a successful marriage. Back then, linen decorations and fabrics were associated with delicacy, romanticism and closeness to nature, hence the frequent use of them in innocent fortune-telling and girls’ games.
Thus, according to beliefs, on the eve of St. Andrew, the girls formed three linen balls. After putting them together, the fortune-tellers placed them on the table and lit them at the same time. This girl, whose ball floated after being lit and then burned in the air, was getting married quickly. If the ball burned on the table – the girl fortune-telling herself had to wait for love for the next 12 months.
Another augury claimed that linen can help in finding a loved one. Legend has it that on St. Andrew’s night each girl sowed flax in a vessel, saying the magic words: “Saint Andrew, let me know with whom I will take this hemp”. These words were meant to recall the future husband with whom it would be possible to harvest a freshly sown plant.
LINEN ON THE WEDDING
Due to its form and delicacy, linen has become a symbol of love in some circles. While today it appears on weddings in the form of, for example, linen tablecloths, pillowcases or flax bouquets placed on the table, it was once used during the last premarital night. As it was argued in Old Slavic beliefs that this plant could contribute to a successful relationship, the Bride puts it in her white pumps to ensure her marital well-being.
In Kashubia (northwestern Poland), the brides additionally tied their stockings with linen string, and in Krosno, a couple in love received a linen gift from the starosts, right after the church ceremony. Another popular custom was to sprinkle flax on the head, thanks to which the future wife was to feel special on this beautiful and important day.
LINEN IN THE WINTER SEASON
Winter is coming and so are falling snowflakes and icicles hanging from the roof.
According to beliefs dating back to the 20th century, girls would go out naked on such a cool night to spin flax in the cold and frost. After that, they took a piece of linen with them, putting it under the pillow. This custom was to protect them from the advent of nightmares, ensuring a peaceful and safe sleep.
Another winter custom is not to spin flax on a cold night, especially when the moon is shining brightly in the sky. This activity was to herald barren months, and in extreme cases even … the theft of yarn. Interestingly, a similar custom concerned Christmas, when the host’s too long rest was to herald the so-called flax lying on the field.