Day of Saint Andrew and the New Year in the old Dacian Calendar
Just as the Celts start the year on the All Hallows, Dacians — the ancient population that lived on the approximate territory of current Romania almost 2000 yrs ago celebrated the New Year on the 30th of November.
The day is known as ‘Andrew’s head of winter’ enabling both Good and Evil to emerge in this world. This is why Romanians observe this day in rest and prayer. No chores are done around the household. Rest is advised.
According to ancient beliefs, the spirits of the dead are now allowed to re-enter, just for one night, into the world of the living.
Seems familiar? For some reason, Halloween happened a month later here in eastern Europe. May be the influence of the Celtic invasion from the 4th Century BC. Apparently, some cultural similarities exist.
„The Dacian New Year includes, among other things, the idea of the symbolic death of the adored deity, Andrew’s lament, nocturnal feasts, excesses of food, drink, and entertainment, the preparation and consumption of ritual food and drink, the belief that graves are opened and animal spirits return, that animals speak, that charms and witchcraft work, especially those for finding The One ”, —Ion Ghinoiu, Dictionary of Romanian Mythology, 2013
The cosmic order is now profoundly disturbed. Along with wolves and spirits, the vampires and the moroi are also enjoying these moments, dancing and haunting abandoned houses, and tormenting people and animals.
People take strong measures to protect themselves, especially in the countryside: rubbing their doors and windows with cloves of garlic, hanging garlic around their house, or preparing different garlic-based dishes.
The wolf is often mentioned in Romanian mythology and is linked to the late autumn holidays and St. Andrew’s Day ( Ziua Sfântului Andrei)
Cattle roaring around that time, howling horses and birds announce the wolf approaching, so that every householder must take care of the animals, local traditions say.
In Romania, the holiday coincides with the beginning of the Dacian New Year and is tightly linked to the wolves.
30 November marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter as well as the day when wolves formed packs and started their winter hunts.
The Dacian legend of the Great White Wolf: possibly the first account of the werewolf.
It is said that Zamolxis turned a priest into a wild wolf in order to protect Dacia from invaders. The White Wolf was the protector of the people, the same attribute given to Sf. Andrei.
Read more about the rites of St. Andrew and early winter , from a folk magic perspective (in Romanian):
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Who was Saint Andrew?
Andrew the Apostle was an apostle of Jesus, and the brother of Saint Peter.
The name “Andrew” (meaning manly, brave, from Greek: ἀνδρεία, = “manhood, valour”), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews and other Hellenized people since the second or third century B.C.
A disciple of John the Baptist, he became the first apostle of Jesus when John suggested that Jesus was the Messiah.
He is the brother of Simon Peter and is a son of Jonah. He is referred to in the Orthodox tradition as the First-Called (Πρωτόκλητος, Prōtoklētos).
Born between 5 and 10 AD in Bethsaida, in Galilee.
“The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present.” —according to the “General Audience of 14 June 2006: Andrew, the “Protoclete” | Benedict XVI”. www.vatican.va.
Andrew preached Christianity to the Iberians, Sauromatians, Taurians, and the Scythians and to every region and city on the Black Sea, both north and south.
Andrew and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade. Thus, Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them “fishers of men” ( Greek: ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, halieîs anthrṓpōn).
He is the patron saint of many countries and regions, including Barbados, Scotland, Romania, Spain, Sicily, Greece, Ukraine, and Russia.
Nowadays, Saint Adrew’s Day is celebrated like a religious holiday but some old superstitions are also kept, in direct connection with ancient beliefs.
As a result, it is beleived that on this day, the magical powers of the wizards are enhanced, and spells cast today are more powerful.
Rest, as a form of protection
“The wolf cannot approach the house whose master and mistress do not work on this day. You can work on any day, no matter how big, but on this day — celebrate”
– Tudor Pamfilie, Romanian Holidays ( 1913)
Here at the Kosmo Headquarters, we take a holistic approach to history, anthropology, etymology, cross-cultural observations, astronomy, calendrics, and magick.
Ritual — ingrained in human culture — is a drive that we, as individuals, long for but has become institutionalized and flooded with dogma. The mindset of separation is finally coming to an end.
But ritual is an act of intimacy: a meeting space of the Human and the Divine, no matter if the Divine is seen as an outside force or a drive and archetype within. Rituak is time for self-reflection, introspection, and inner peace. Ritual is habit with intent.
The Kosmo Kalindar is a tool, along with many others: a tool for finding all the reasons to connect to oneself and others through ritual and inclusive celebration, for a life full of meaning, connection and joy, in alignment with the Cycles of Life.