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Andrzejki – The Night Before St. Andrew’s Day Posted by on Nov 29, 2008 in Culture

One of my friends asked me if I knew any fortune-telling games for Andrzejki and my answer was “What on earth are you talking about?” Actually, it was much more to the point than that, but since this is a PG blog, I will refrain from quoting directly.

And she said, “You know, hot wax and all that…” And then I finally remembered. Good grief, I must have been like 6 years old when I tried that last. And even then, the only reason I remembered it at all was that the hot wax spilled on my hand and I got blisters.

You see, in Poland the night before St. Andrew’s Day (Andrzejki) is an occasion for parties, celebrations, drinking and eating and yes, even fortune-telling. And since St. Andrew’s Day comes on November 30th, that means that Polish Andrzejki is celebrated tonight, on November 29th.

One of the most popular fortune-telling games for Andrzejki is the already mentioned hot wax. It goes like this: get a candle and melt it until you get nice, hot, pourable wax. Prepare a dish of cold water. Get a key, preferably a key with a rather large hole. Stick the key into the hand of a person (normally a woman, I’ve never heard of guys doing this) who wants to know her future and steadily pour the wax into the water through the hole in the key. See what I mean about a big hole? Otherwise the participant will end up with painful blisters.

The wax will float and cool and when it’s properly cooled off, you take it out and examine its shadow. And that shadow is supposed to tell you what will happen in the future.

Another game that my friend shared with me goes like this:
Get the shoes of all unmarried women in the house and line them all up in a well, line. Take the last one and move it to the front of the line. Repeat, repeat, and repeat. Meander a bit around the house to make it more interesting, then head for the door. Whoever’s shoe crosses the threshold first will get married first.

Poor Saint Andrew, he must be spinning in his grave… Oh wait, he doesn’t have a grave, if I remember correctly. Phew!

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  1. Michael:

    What other days of the year do Polish people have a party for that other countries don’t have?

    i have heard of Wiglia which is Christmas Eve but Polish people have a special supper with their own traditions as far as i know.

  2. pinolona:

    You have Swięty Mikołai. In Germany and some parts of northern Italy they celebrate something on 6 December (or is that La Befana on 6 January) but we definitely don’t do it. No presents until after lunch on Christmas Day!

  3. Anna:

    Ah yes, Mikołajki, I totally forgot about that!

  4. Dominika:

    Dzien Kobiet (Women Day) on 8 March… it’s when men give presents to women and treat them very kindly 😉 it is vey popular 😀