St. Andrew’s Day Celebration

Hi, I’m Sophia. After class activities are very interesting in our school. We often have performances, competitions, public lessons, parties, school trips, exhibitions, fairs, etc. I always take an active part in out of class activities. The most recent highlight in our school life was a performance Andriyivsky Vechornytsy dedicated to the celebration of St. Andrew’s Day. Our class diligently prepared for this event having rehearsals. Every student in my class played a role. I was so glad to portray one of the main characters – a grandmother named Odarka and the mistress of the house.

Finally, the day of the performance came. It was held in the school Assembly Hall, a spacious, beautifully decorated, and comfortable venue.  The spectators were the students and teachers of our school. All the seats were ocupied.

In Ukraine, people celebrate St. Andrew’s Day on November 30th. St. Andrew was an important person in history. Legend has it that St. Andrew was the one who brought Christianity to Ukraine. This day is a special time for some customs and traditions.

The Feast Day of St. Andrew was called Andriyivsky vechornytsy because it was held in the evening. St. Andrew’s evenings were a fun, entertaining and colourful event, filled with jokes and laughter. From time immemorial, of all the major winter holidays, perhaps the happiest for young people was St. Andrew’s Day. Jokes and pranks, mostly tricked by boys, were allowed only on St. Andrew’s night.

The girls gathered to prepare a treat together. The woman, the host of the house, taught them to cook, as well as embroider or spin. The boys brought various goodies to the party: nuts, gingerbread, and other sweets.

The day was celebrated with fortune-telling and parties where pancakes and pastries were traditionally used for games which were supposed to help girls find a husband.

On St. Andrew’s Night, especially young people, gather together to predict their future. They might peel an apple in one long strip and throw it over their shoulder. The shape it makes on the floor can give clues about their future love. Or they might use a mirror to see their future spouse’s face. It’s all done in a fun and playful way.

Another tradition is to create a “Didukh,” which is a special decoration made of wheat sheaves. It symbolizes the spirit of the ancestors and the harvest. Families place the Didukh in their homes as a way of bringing good luck and prosperity.

While St. Andrew’s Day may not be a big holiday in Ukraine, it’s a time when people come together, have fun, and share in these unique customs. It’s a day to remember the past and look forward to the future.

We wore traditional Ukrainian costumes: vyshyvankas, embroidered shirts. I wore a plahta, a Ukrainian embroidered skirt with a belt, a kerchief and a shawl.

We sang and danced happily. We enjoyed biting the kalyta, a circle-shaped bread covered with honey and seeds with a hole in the middle.

The audience burst into applause at the end of the performance.

After the performance, we ate dumplings and drank juice.

We had great time and expanded our knowledge of Ukrainian folk traditions. To conclude, our form teacher praised our work and told about the significance of preserving Ukrainian cultural heritage with great honor across generations.

Do you organize Andriyivsky Vechornytsy at your school?