Anyone who knows a little about Romanian culture knows that 30th of November is a very special day for Romanians. On the one hand all those who bear the name Andrei or Andreea celebrate their nameday, on the other hand, Saint Andrew is, apart from his religious connotation, also an important national holiday.
St. Andrew – which in Greek means “courageous or male” – is a festival of traditions, customs, but also of superstition. According to tradition, Andrew – also called “the first Che-Mat” because he was the first to respond to the call of Jesus Christ – was the one who preached the Gospel to the Dacian people and has since been considered the apostle of the Romanian. November 30, on which many people still remember Andrew today, is his official day of death. Like Jesus Christ, Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped wooden post, hence the name “Andrew’s Cross”.
In 1997 Saint Andrew was even declared Ombudsman of Romania and since 2012 the 30th of November is considered a legal holiday in the whole country.
Also this year about 700,000 Romanians, who carry the name Andrei or Andreea and also the rest of the country, celebrate the 30th November as a name and commemoration day. Especially the holiday eve, which is connected with the most different – partly bizarre – customs, enjoys large approval.
As the night of St. Andrew (29-30 November), it is considered by many to be the Romanian equivalent of Halloween. Many households, for example, hang garlic wreaths on doors and windows or distribute crushed garlic in animal stables to prevent the penetration of evil spirits. In addition, cherry blossom seeds are often planted that night to give you a year of happiness when they blossom by Christmas. Another custom is sowing wheat or 12 bulbs (for 12 months a year). The onions that pass until Christmas stand for the sign of the moon, the onions that are already sprouting are a sign of wealth.
In order to prevent the evil spirits from entering the houses, people also turn over all the pots and cups that night. Weaving was also abandoned during this time so as not to arouse the wrath of the Virgin Mary. A little wheat with earth and water in a bowl forms another tradition that many probably remember from their childhood. The superstition says that the size and splendour of the wheat, which grows until the New Year, shows what the next year will be like for the observer. Healthy and tall wheat means a successful year, a bright future, and a lot of health and success.