Polish fortune-telling holiday: Get a candle, a key and a right shoe

Tonight is St. Andrew’s Eve where fortunes are told if you happen to be in Poland or around a large Polish community. These days, the fortunes are male or female friendly, but in the past were female fare. Also called Andrzejki, this holiday is thanks to St. Andrew (as in one of the disciples) who is the patron saint.

The night of fortune-telling designed to predict a person’s fate in love, wealth and marriage involves a bit of practice it seems–and a vivid imagination. The love and wealth prediction is the trickiest. People gather at parties where each tells the others’ fortunes based on information gathered from melted wax and shadows.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Get a candle. Melt the wax
  2. Turn off the lights
  3. Pour the melted wax through the hole of a key into a bowl of water. Naturally, get a key with a large hole.
  4. When the wax hardens into a shape, look at it, or the shadow that it makes to see what that person’s fortune is.

This is what you can tell if you are an intuitive fortune-teller type. The person’s country of origin (if the person speaks Polish and if you are in Poland, this might be a safe bet), the person’s future love match, and what the person’s profession will be.

If this sounds a little dicey and complicated, try shoe throwing. It’s another St. Andrew’s Eve tradition. Here’s how you do this one. Everybody at the party takes off his or her right shoe. Stand in a line across a room from a door. Throw the shoe towards the door. Whoever gets his or her shoe closer to the door will get married first. I would say if you don’t really want to get married first, don’t lob it. A gentle toss will suffice. You can always say, “Ooops, it slipped.”

Here’s another way to play this one. Starting at the wall across from the door, one person puts the heel of her shoe against the wall. Another person puts the heal of her shoe against the toe of the other person’s shoe. Another person repeats the step with her shoe. Whichever shoe is the one that reaches the door is the one that the owner will get married first. Clear as mud?

I looked around to see if I can find a particular St. Andrew’s Eve event for you to go to. Nope. I did find several articles talking about it. Here’s one from the Warsaw Voice where I culled my how tos. You can practice your Polish with this one. The cities in the U.S. and Canada mentioned as having large Polish communities are Detroit, San Francisco, Toronto and New York. This article describes even more fortune-telling games.