Even though the gardening season is over, I'm looking forward to this special day and not only because it's my daughter's Andreea day of name, but also because I'm sowing wheat, according to an old Romanian tradition.
Since St. Andrew was designated as Romania's protector saint this day has become a very important religious celebration in our country. This day is similar to Halloween, because according to our tradition, on St. Andrew's night the ghosts, werewolves and vampires are out and wandering around, looking for fresh blood. People are protecting their houses from these creatures with garlic. In some parts of our country, young girls and boys are giving a party on this night, laughing and dancing all night long. The fences and the houses corners are spreaded with garlic to protect them from the night creatures. They say it is also a very good day for witchcraft. On this day, all the people named after the saint, 'Andrei' for men and 'Andreea' for women, are celebrating their day of name.
The custom of sowing wheat berries on St. Andrew's day is very old in our country. Tradition says that if one will sow wheat on this day, by the end of the year he will find out how his next year will be, good or bad, just by looking at the wheat's sprouts. If the sprouts are tall, fresh, green and bushy the year will be a good one, but if they are yellow or haven't been growing too tall and bushy the year will be a bad one. Our tradition also says to put the grown wheat on the New Year's Eve dinner table, together with money, all our prepared meals and glasses full of wine, so next year we'd have abundance in our home.
I've been sowing wheat for each member of our family (my husband, our two children and me) in four small bowls, on a wet cottonl. I spread the same quantity of wheat berries on each bowl. After all the bowls are ready, I ask every member of our family to choose a bowl. I keep the bowls in my kitchen window, so all can have the same growing conditions. At first I give them plenty of water until the wheat sprouts. Then I just water when needed. All our bowls have grown well every year, with some exceptions, when my husband or I didn't have a job and our wheat really didn't grow that high.
The feeling of watching the wheat sprout and grow is great and it makes us feel very close as a family, even if my children are now living so far away in Switzerland. Last year I had to ask them to choose their bowl through the webcam! This year our family got bigger after our first grandson was born, so I'll start wheat in five bowls. I have to confess I did that last year too, beore he was even born! I was so enthusiastic about becoming a grandma and sowed wheat berries in a bowl for the yet unborn baby. My daughter Andreea chose the bowl for him. This year they will be coming home in December for the holidays, but on St. Andrew's day we'll be connected online once again, for the great choosing! I'll let Nicholas choose for himself, after they will arrive, even if it will be later.
Isn't technology great? It's incredible how such old traditions are still living, even if many Romanians, had to leave our country and find a better place to live and work. Too bad these traditions can't change things and stop the crisis, but who knows? Maybe this year, on St. Andrew night, the witches and warlocks will get busy!