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Greek Customs and the Feast of Saint Andrew


Saint Andrew the First-Called Apostle was martyred within the Greek metropolis of Patras, the place the biggest cathedral in Greece honors his title over the place he was martyred. He is well known yearly on November 30, which coincides with the final day of autumn. For this motive, his celebration consists of beliefs, fears, hopes and perceptions, customs and habits, with a magical, superstitious character. Saint Andrew is taken into account the patron saint of Nafplio as nicely, because the liberation of town of Nafplio from the Turks came about on November 30, 1822.The villagers of the mountains and plains worry the month of November, which is why they provide it the title of Saint Andrew. The folks within the Peloponnese and Epirus referred to as the month of November “Aindria”. In Kozani, Thessaly, Thrace and Sinope in Pontus, November is named “Andrias”. In conventional Greek tradition, it’s customary for months to be named after a saint, as for instance October can also be referred to as “Aidemitriatis”.

The church has established the day of the celebration of Saint Andrew as a vacation free from labor, which was noticed, with reverence and worry, by the agricultural populations of rural Greece, who believed that Saint Andrew grows the seeds. In Roumeli, in addition to in the remainder of Greece, they thought of the feast of Saint Andrew to be agricultural and the customs of the day had been distinctly agricultural. In order for the seeds to develop and their fruitfulness and harvest to extend, the farmers on the day of the Saint’s feast boiled wheat to which they added sugar, raisins, walnuts and took them to the church to be blessed. Afterwards, they had been introduced residence, the place members of the family ate them or distributed them to neighbors and pals. On the day of the feast, polyspora had been boiling in Epirus, Akarnania, Thessaly and Thrace. In these areas, they boiled wheat to which they added sugar, raisins and nuts, ceremonial kollyva, which they distributed to the folks. These customs present a reference to the productive energies of the season, when sowing ends and vegetation is anticipated. In Nigrita of Serres, they believed that on the day of the feast of Saint Andrew, the wheat sprouts. That’s why they boiled polyspora. In Koniatsi, in the present day’s Evangelismos, Elassonas, after blessing the boiled wheat within the church, they distributed it to the homes for the souls of the dead. A extra widespread providing for a similar functions had been the so-called polyspores, sporides, bolias, busburelias, polykoukias, bombolas or wheat cookers. Polyspores are boiled grains blended with legumes, a panspermia of wheat, barley, corn, beans, chickpeas, beans and lentils. On the eve of the feast, they went to the church to be blessed. Then they ate them and a few gave them away.

In Damaskinia of Kozani, previous Vedyloustion, they attend church within the morning. In the night in each farmhouse, the housewife made lalangites. From their dough they used to bless the storeroom under the home in order that there would at all times be a enough provide of products. Along with the ltalangites, polyspora was boiling in a nook of the hearth, in a tzoukali. The oldest lady of the home would take a plate of boiled polyspora and exit into the courtyard, the place she would throw them together with her hand 3 times – as many because the individuals of the Holy Trinity – in direction of the sky, saying: “May the crops develop this excessive.” Then they ate the polyspora, exchanging needs with one another. Lalangites had been made primarily to entertain males and different members of the family. The subsequent day, which is the brand new moon, they awoke early and gave lalangites to the animals of the home in order that they too would turn into fats.

In Agrafa, the polyspora had been taken unboiled to the church, the place they had been positioned in entrance of the Beautiful Gate for the priest to bless. In Lykorrachis of Konitsa, previous Lupsiko, they threw polyspores within the gardens for good manufacturing. In Aiani Kozani, the priest threw the boiled wheat on the tiles after the service. In Eptachori, previously Vourvoutsikos, Kastoria, seedlings had been boiled to make “bereketia”. Before taking the seedlings out of the hearth, they might throw three spoonfuls of them on the home to be able to fertilize the seedlings. In Tyrnavos, on the eve of the feast, the farmers lit a tall candle within the yard of the home or within the barn, amongst their agricultural instruments, the plow and the others, within the grace of Saint Andrew and wished that the seeds would flourish and turn into in order excessive because the candle. In Magoula Elassonas, the farmers’ households boiled the “pachida”, that’s, pounded wheat. In many elements of Greece, polyspores had been thrown on their fields, to be able to have a very good harvest. In Farasa, Cappadocia, they carried out a qurban (blood sacrifice), slaughtering chickens in reminiscence of Saint Andrew, or “E Ntre”, as they referred to as him, in a ruined chapel outdoors the village.

It was popularly believed that the roof of a home was the dwelling place of demons, agreeable or unpleasant, however undoubtedly harmful for the occupants of the home. The roof was additionally frequented by the Kalikantzaroi of the Twelve days of Christmas. Throwing polysporia on the roof was a propitiating act in direction of the demons dwelling there. Popular perception within the existence of demons on the roof is confirmed by a number of the wedding ceremony customs. More particularly:

In Artotina within the mountains of Doris, the bride would throw a nail on the roof tiles to forestall the dangerous results of demons. In Vourvoura, Kynouria, the groom turned over the roof tiles of the bride’s home, and even cracked a number of. In Vournika, Lefkada, the bride would propitiate the roof demons by throwing almonds, nuts and koufeta (wedding ceremony bonbons) onto the tiles. In Baousioi, Ioannina, the bride threw a glass filled with honey or wine on the roof.

In Cyprus, Saint Andrew, or “Ai Ntrikas” as he’s referred to as, is taken into account the healer of the deaf, paralyzed and epileptics. Up to the fateful yr of 1974, crowds of pilgrims, each wholesome and in poor health, thronged to the Saint’s monastery, positioned within the Karpasitiki area on the east coast. Many Cypriots took their youngsters there to baptize them and provides them the title of Andros and Androula, i.e. Andreas and Andriana.

According to 1 custom that comes from Chios, Saint Andrew, along with Saint Haralambos, can also be thought of to be an exterminator of the plague. It is alleged that he walked across the village of Chalkios at night time, to guard the native folks from the Black Death.

In years passed by, on the day of Saint Andrew’s feast, tiganites (fritters) with honey had been made in all places. It was even believed that Saint Andrew pierced the frying pan of the housewife who forgot the customized. That is why one of many saint’s nick names was Trypotigana or Trypotiganiti (he who pierces frying pans). In the Patriarchate of Constantinople, loukoumades with honey had been supplied to the congregation after the church service. The French traveller Guillaume-Joseph Grelot, who travelled in Greece in 1670, informs us that on Saint Andrew’s day, girls had been at all times making tiganites.

Today, clear water coming from the oracular spring of the goddess Demeter fills Saint Andrew’s nicely, subsequent to the Basilica designed by Lysandros Kaftantzoglou, which is the Old Saint Andrew Church of 1836, on the west coast of Patras. After the church service on November thirtieth, younger lovers went to Saint Andrew’s nicely and drank handfuls of water, to make sure their welfare. In earlier instances, within the Patras space, on the eve of the feast of Saint Andrew, lachanopites (cabbage pies) had been made and despatched to the church to be distributed among the many poor. This was a customized of consoling and honoring the dead. At the identical time, i.e. early winter, farmers in European nations had been making crèpes of wheat, for worms to not eat the younger crops. These had been for placating evil spirits.

Another custom from Patras says that seaweed was typically discovered within the Saint’s cenotaph. This was as a result of the Saint, who was a fisherman, helped fishing boats in peril throughout huge storms. In locations that had been near the ocean, subsequent to the good maritime routes and islets, Saint Andrew was thought of the patron of fishermen and crews of small ships. This view was prevalent in Kimolos, Paxos, Ithaca, Astypalaia, Cyprus and the coast of Propontis.

The affiliation of the title of Saint Andrew with the Greek phrase “andras” (man) explains dream predictions on marriage that came about on the feast day. In Skyros, on the day of “Ai-Andrios”, younger ladies fasted in order to dream that night time of their future husband. In the village of Chalkios in Chios, ladies lit the lamps within the Chapel of Saint Andrew, praying to him to rearrange a very good marriage for them.

Many Saints are punishers, imposing punishments on individuals who don’t observe the feasts and customs or are disrespectful. Punisher saints are often those, like Saint Andrew, whose feast falls on days vital for agriculture and animal husbandry. From the Chronicler of Dorotheos, a vernacular textual content of 1570, we study that in a church located on some Cycladic island, an irreverent priest used a spear to extract the correct eye of Saint Andrew’s icon. Miraculously, at that very same second, out got here the priest’s proper eye and changed that of the Saint’s within the icon.

The date of Saint Andrew’s feast on the finish of autumn, marks the start of winter. As the favored saying goes, on Saint Andrew’s day, the chilly “andrievei” (intensifies) as does the north wind and the winter, the primary snows fall on the mountains and even the hay will get chilly. There is much less farm work, the times develop shorter and other people go residence early or collect at pals’ and kin’ homes, spending entertaining evenings in entrance of the hearth. The following well-liked verses from the island of Milos are typical:

– Saint Andrew how do you do?
In winter the place will you go?

– I’ll keep at residence
and lightweight the hearth
and deal with you all to wine!

In Mesara, Crete, on the thirtieth of November, carpets can be laid and heavy woollen bedding generally known as batanies had been taken out of chests.

Summing up all that was talked about above, the Greek folks imagine Saint Andrew to be the patron of farmers and crops, a healer of the blind, deaf, paralyzed and epileptics and an exterminator of plagues. He was additionally patron saint of fishermen, the crews of small vessels, of lovers and younger ladies who he helped dream of their future husbands.

Finally we should always be aware that the data and research of customs preserved and practiced primarily by girls, assist us perceive the easy nation folks with their hopes, beliefs and fears concerning the seen and the invisible world surrounding them. Traditional customs are a part of our cultural heritage. They represent a file of the favored worship practiced by our ancestors, each historic, Byzantine and newer.

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