St. Andrew’s Day, 13 December, is when unmarried girls can learn the names, habits, and professions of their future husbands, and even get a look at their faces – if they follow the correct rituals. So if you are young and single, or old and single for that matter, we thought we’d let you in on how it’s all done.
Sitting all alone, a girl lights a candle, sits in front of a mirror and stares into the glass without looking away. According to Ukrainian folk tradition, she’ll see her intended husband within an hour. Even if he doesn’t appear in the mirror, the girl might see him when she lies down to sleep. On St. Andrew’s Night dreams are prophetic, and if she sees a man in her sleep, that could turn out to be the one she’ll wed. If she wants to get a closer look at his face when she awakes, it’s back to the mirror, into which she must look at midnight. A pool of water serves the same purpose. To find out the name of her future beloved, a girl can write down the names of likely pros
On St. Andrew’s Night dreams are prophetic, and if a girl sees a man in her sleep, that could turn out to be the one she’ll wed
pects on scraps of paper, roll them up, and place them under her pillow. The piece of paper she randomly pulls out the next morning will bear the name of the lucky guy.
Another way to find out the name of your future husband is to simply step outside on St. Andrew’s Night and ask the name of the first man you stumble upon. According to legend, the answer he gives will also be the name of your future husband. One of the first things Ukrainian girls did on St. Andrew’s Day in the past was bake balabushki (small rolls). The baking process itself was full of mystery. After sunset, girls got down to business. They went down to a nearby river or lake and cut a hole in the ice, then filled their mouths with the cold water. It was this water that they’d pour into the balabushka batter. Each girl would mark her own balabushki with coloured threads or paper. Then they’d place the buns on the floor and let a hungry dog into the house. The girl whose balabushka the dog gobbled first would be the first to get married. If the dog didn’t touch a girl’s rolls at all, she’d spend the next year as a maid. But it was much worse if the dog just bit a balabushka without finishing it – it meant that the girl had some bad luck coming. Another tradition involved shoes. A group of girls’ shoes were arranged in a row along a wall, then moved piece by piece, preserving the same order, in a line extending to the door. The girl whose shoe first crossed the threshold would get married first.
Another way to find out when and whom girls would marry was to put different items – a ring, a wreath, flowers, a doll, a married woman’s cap, a kerchief, coral beads, a candle, bread, an onion, coal, a cross - under overturned dishes, which were then moved around, shell-game style. If a girl found a wreath or flower under the dish she chose, she would remain unmarried for a long time. If she found a ring, a kerchief or a cap she’d be married soon. Coral beads meant she’d be a maid, bread meant future riches, coal meant she’d marry a blacksmith, and thread a weaver. A doll or an onion meant the girls would have an illegitimate child, while a candle or cross prophesied death. To find out just when she’d get married, a girl would hang a golden wedding ring at the end of a piece of her own hair and lower it into a glass or vase. The number of times the ring hit the vessel’s sides represented the number of months or years it would take for the girl to get married. To make certain that fortune-telling rituals come true and to appeal to the day’s patron, St. Andrew, girls usually fast all day and light a candle in front of the saint’s icon at church. Sometimes finding a good husband requires all the divine intervention you can get.