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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 26, 2008
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Fortune Telling Polish Style
November 26, 2008   
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In the past people attributed magical powers to the night of Nov. 29, believing that the door to the unknown future opened on that special night. St. Andrew is the patron saint of enamored and married couples and so on the eve of St. Andrew's Day, girls traditionally got together for a fortune-telling session to learn about their matrimonial prospects, trying to figure out the names of their future husbands as well as when they would get married.

The rites of St. Andrew's eve, which can be traced back to Ancient Greece and also to Celtic and Old Germanic traditions, spread to Poland in the 16th century. One of the most popular, traditional St. Andrew's fortune-telling customs is pouring beeswax through the hole in a key. Another is learning the name of a husband-to-be by selecting a card with a name on it from a number of cards under your pillow, or divining his initials from a piece of apple peel thrown behind you.

St. Andrew's eve is a mix of old and new traditions, folk beliefs and contemporary entertainment. Nowadays, it is mainly an opportunity to meet people and have a party. Some harmless fortune-telling can be fun and who knows, perhaps some of it will come true?
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