November 27, 2015

Mysterious Romania (XIX) Saint Andrew's Night Romanian Halloween



St Andrew’s Night is for sure the most mysterious and magic filled Christian holiday. 
He is the patron Saint of Romania.  According to ethnologists, St. Andrew’s Night has ancient origins. It was the period when Dacians celebrated the New Year, known as The  Dionysian  Pastorals.   The end of November was the holiday of Romans Saturnalia. too.
  Many say that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest on this night. This allows the spirits of that dark unknown place to more freely walk among us

 It’s also known as the sleepless night, the night when nobody goes out,  the wolves’ night, of the zombies, of skies opening, the night of the spells or the night of the living dead. Zombies and vampires kidnap people so nobody takes the risk to go out.
It’s the moment when at midnight the animals’ tongues are unlocked and all talk one with the other, but you need courage to listen to them. If you brace up and keep quiet you can find out where treasures are hidden, the names of still free criminals and many other  secret things. But you can’t tell such secrets to other people, otherwise you turn into a living dead. Old people say that  daylight appears nine blinks sooner so that all evil should crawl back to their places in the other world. During these 9 blinks the skies open and the angels come down on earth to put the ghosts, vampires and ghouls on the run.

We have no Halloween where I live, I mean Romania, even if it’s Dracula’s country. However, St. Andrew’s Night, due to its beliefs and traditions, may be called a Romanian Halloween.
30th November is St Andrew’s Day in Romania, a day full of symbolism as St Andrew, one of the 12 Apostles is considered the one who made the Romanians Christians. But more powerful  in traditions and superstitions is the preceding night.
St. Andrew’s Night is a magic night when people have to do certain things to keep the evil away from them. St. Andrew’s Night is in some way the equivalent of Halloween.  It has a lot of traditions and superstitions. Ghosts come out in the human world, wolves speak the human language  and predict horrible things. People who are attacked this night by evil  spirits will turn into  werewolves. To protect themselves against evil, people can use  garlic and spells.
Here are several customs, typical to rural communities, on this special night:
 To get rid of evil spirits, and prevent them entering the house,  villagers grease the doors and threshold with crushed garlic. They also use garlic to protect the stables, too.

Mothers draw small crosses on the palms of their small children to protect them.
The young maidens who want to get married put several leaves of basil under their pillows.  Or, another custom if they want to see their fated husband – the girls should stay naked between two mirrors, at midnight, holding two burning candles in their hands. They will see in the mirror behind them scenes of their future life, including the face of their future groom.
Housewives turn all the glasses and cups with the mouth down to prevent evil settling inside them.
The weather this night predicts how the coming winter will be. If the sky is clear, the winter will be mild with less snow  and warmer days.
 On St. Andrew’s Night, (29th to 30th November), when the sky opens and the witches recharge their powers, is the best moment to find the answers of past mysterious and unsolved enigmas.  It   implies people taking part in an odd ritual in a graveyard. Then, in a basin with  water,   over which  an incantation was uttered, they will see everything that happened.

10 comments:

  1. Utterly fascinating post about St. Andrew's Night, Carmen. I hope you don't mind if I reblog this?

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    1. I am so glad you enjoy it, Flossie!
      Yes, absolutely. You can reblog it and any other post you think worth. No need to ask. Thank you!

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  2. I enjoyed the post, Carmen. Many of the St. Andrew's night customs seem very similar to Halloween customs in the UK. Thank you so much for telling us about it.

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    1. I had no idea that even UK celebrates Halloween. Thanks for telling me!

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  3. Absolutely fascinating, Carmen. I had no idea about St. Andrew. Some of these customs are observed even in the U.S. during our Halloween, which for me is Samhain. Thank you so much for sharing. I love hearing about other customs.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for visiting, Mary!

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  4. Hi Carmen. I liked the article about St. Andrew's night. Romania, the country of mysteries.!!! In November 30th our church celebrate St Andrew's memory, but this has nothing to do with mystery. I have two relatives with this name who have their Name Day. Do you have Name Days???

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    1. Thank you for checking the post, Elina!
      Yes, we do. Like you. I had no idea there's another country with the same tradition. I had a post on it here:
      http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/2015/10/mysterious-romania-xvii-name-day.html

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  5. Another fascinating glimpse into the folklore and traditions of your country, Carmen. I've heard of St. Andrew's night before but was unfamiliar with many of these customs. A few of them remind me of Halloween in the U.S., and even Christmas Eve (the talking animals). I love stuff like this. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for checking the post, Mae! I was sure you would enjoy it as you are fond of such lore. And I think I am right when I call it a kind of Romanian Halloween.

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