When I read this post from Romanian author Carmen Stefanescu on her website, I found it incredibly fascinating. I’ve heard Carmen speak of St. Andrew’s Night before, and in this segment of her Mysterious Romania series she includes a lot of the details of the holiday. The folk customs reach way back into the dim recesses of time. I wanted to share it with you for Mythic Monday, as I know you’ll find it interesting as well.
Mysterious Romania Saint Andrew’s Night Romanian Halloween by Carmen Stefanescu
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 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, 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 means implies 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.
I know you enjoyed reading about the folk customs surrounding St. Andrew’s Night in Romania. Please hop over to Carmen Stefanescu’s website and peruse some of the other fascinating topics there. Also, don’t miss her wonderful book, full of romance and mysterious happenings, Shadows of the Past.
Cheers & Happy Reading! Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance