Thedawn of November 30 is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.
It has a special significance for the Romanian people.
Saint Andrew is the one who baptized the first Christians on the territory of our country, being considered the spiritual patron of the Romans. And the actions of the apostle Andrew had efficiency, because here flourished one of the most beautiful Christian spiritualities.
According to the Bible, the two brothers, Peter and Andrew, were originally from Bethsaida, located on the shores of Lake Genezaret. They had a home in Capernaum and were fishermen by profession.
The name Andrew derives from the Greek Andreas, which means "valiant", "manly".
This is a Greek name, although the Apostle Andrew was a Jew.
John's Gospel says that Andrew was first a disciple of John the Baptist, who would have recommended that he follow Jesus of Nazareth. According to John's gospel, Andrew would have taken his brother Peter to Jesus, telling him that he had found the Messiah.
This is where Andrew's characterization as "the first called" comes from.
In the enumerations of the apostles, Andrew is always mentioned among the first four. However, he is not among the three whom Jesus treated in certain situations like his closest ones (Peter, James, and John).
Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist when, some time after Jesus' baptism, hearing John the Baptist say of Jesus, "Behold the lamb of God!" (John 1:36) followed Jesus, thus becoming the first apostle. After the resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit (at Pentecost), the Apostles remained for several years in Jerusalem, beginning the formation of the Church.
At the Apostolic Council that took place around 49-50 A.D. in Jerusalem, the Apostles met and cast lots to decide where each would go.
The legend says that the Apostle Andrew belonged to Scytia (Dobrogea, where there is still a cave considered to have been the cave where the saint prayed).
First, Andrew accompanied his brother (the Apostle Peter) through Asia Minor, then crossed the Balkan peninsula through the territory of present-day Turkey, arriving in Scythia, where he stopped for a while.
Then it would have continued the pilgrimage, reaching as far as the south of present-day Russia.
After that, he returned to Greece, consolidating the Christian communities founded by the Apostle Paul and other Apostles, reaching as far as the Greek Peloponnese, in the city of Patras.
There he died as a martyr, being crucified on an X-shaped cross, which was called "The Cross of St. Andrew". After his death the relics were preserved at Patras.
Around the year 350 emperor Constantinos (son of Constantine the Great) takes them to Constantinople and places them in the Church of the Apostles. They are kept whole until around 850, when the Byzantine Emperor Basil I the Macedonian yields to the pleas of the inhabitants of Patras and returns their heads. Approx. in 1208, during the 4th Crusade, the relics reached Amalfi, near Naples, being kept in the dome of San Andrea. In 1462 they were taken to Rome because of the Turkish danger. In the fifteenth century Pope Pius II moved the relics of Saint Andrew to st. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. In 1964 the head of Saint Andrew was returned to the church in Patras.
He is considered the protector of Scotland (the Scottish flag represents the cross of Saint Andrew), of Romania, Spain, Sicily, Greece and Russia. He is also the patron of the cities of Naples, Ravenna, Brescia, Amalfi, Mantua, Bordeaux, Brugge, Patras, etc.
All over the world there are traditions and folk customs, but it seems as if nowhere do the traditions know the "pomp" and the meanings of the Romanian ones.
Legends say that on the night of St. Andrew (November 29/30) rituals are practiced in order to protect people, animals and households. It is the night when black spirits haunt earthly places. Hence the tradition that of St. Andrew's secrets are unraveled, the perpetrators of murders, of thefts are found. This custom is carried out at midnight, in the cemetery with holy water, candles, a new vessel with a wide mouth and a few silver pennies that are placed on a deserted tomb. After a few prayers are said, one can see in the water poured into the vessel the thread of events.
The traditions of St. Andrew are varied and multiple, perhaps no other holiday is so full of symbols as this one. Legends of Bukovina say that on the night of St. Andrew the wolves begin to speak and move their stiff necks. He who wants to hear the words of wolves will die quickly, and if a man is attacked by wolves, he will turn into a werewolf.
By St. Andrew the women turn the pots and cups with their mouths down or remove from the stove the warm ashes so that the undead do not take shelter in the heat or scatter through the yard pieces of bread that the undead eat and do not enter the house. To defend themselves from werewolves hang strings of garlic at the entrance and leave the candle lit (in some areas there is a habit of smearing with garlic the heels of doors and windows). The animals are mixed in the feed by a strand of basil or put a drop of holy water in the water. In the past there was the "salt enchantment": a drob of loose salt was buried in front of the stable. He was unearthed in the spring by St. George when salt was mixed in animal feed to protect them from charms.
The feast of St. Andrew is the foreboding of the bear for unmarried young girls. It is said that a thread of basil placed under the pillow makes the image of the bear appear in the dream. In other parts, the method of "making with the ulcica" is used: alone in front of the stove, the girl turns a new clay pot on the bottom of which she leaves to burn 3 coals. Uttering an incantation she gently rotates the vessel and attracts the attention of the loved one. Another custom to guess the future is to look at a glass of unceasing water in which he throws a wedding ring sanctified by the priest in the middle of which appears the face of the bear. Also to find out the future, a sits between two mirrors with a candle in each hand and looks intensely into the front oglida. It is said that in the rear mirror she is reflected scenes from the future and the image of the future husband.
St. Andrew's can be found out the forecast for the next year. Tradition has it that 12 onions are taken that go into the attic of the house and leave there until Christmas evening. Each month of the year corresponds to an onion. Onions that have broken down signify rainy months with hail, and those that have sprouted, favorable months for harvest. The same is done with the wheat that is sprouted for each member of the family. The one whose wheat is beautiful and tall is said to have a good year with money and health. If on the night of St. Andrew it is clear and warm, then we will have a mild winter, if it is frosty, we will have a hard winter.