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Feast of St. Andrew

November 30, the feast day of St. Andrew, marks the end of the sanctoral calendar, as it is usually the last major saint's day celebrated before the first Sunday of Advent. The apostle to the East, Andrew's travels according to legend took him to Greece, Romania, Byzantium, Turkey, along the Black Sea, and other locations. His relics have been displaced by historical calamities from Patras, where he was killed, to Constantinople and finally to Amalfi in Italy. His head, once preserved in the Vatican reliquary, was recently returned to Patras. He is the chief patron of Russia and of Scotland, and his symbol, the X-shaped cross on which he died this day during the reign of Nero, can be found on many flags, including the Union Jack. In Poland and other countries in eastern Europe, unmarried girls are often read their future on St. Andrew's Night, and in many locales it is said that an unmarried woman should ask Andrew for help in finding a husband and then sleep naked on the eve of his feast, to receive a vision of her future husband.

Photo image: Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652), Saint Andrew (17th c.)


Mark Barry said...

What a wonderful tradition!

Charles T. Downey said...

I'm sure that some enterprising man along the way has tried to sneak into a woman's room on St. Andrew's Eve at some point. If she does not want to marry you but has a "vision" of you that night, she could change her mind!