Polish tradition comes to GV with Andrzejki Festival

Rachel McLaughlin

Walking through the second floor of Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof Center, you could smell Polish cuisine at the opposite end of the hallway from room 2270, where the Polish Andrzejki Festival took place.

Andrzejki (an-dzey-ki) is the day of Saint Andrew, traditionally celebrated on Nov. 29 in Poland.

The main theme of the festival was fortunetelling – or seeing into the future – using a few different methods.

Hot cider, sausage, and cookies lined red and white checkered tablecloths and helped people’s impatience while they waited to get their fortune told.

In the Cups of Fate, three paper cups are flipped upside down and the person, typically a female, would choose one of the cups to indicate the fate of their future. One cup would have a ring meaning marriage, another with a cross symbolizing a religious/monastery life, or lastly, a green plant predicting an unmarried life.

Another method of fortunetelling was a tarot card reading, in which a participant shuffled the deck and was told their fate based on the cards that were turned over.

“I thought the tarot card reading was fairly accurate and really made me think about my life and how I can affect myself and others with my actions,” said attendee and gvsu student Julia Stavale.

Perhaps the most popular event was the “Shadow of Wax,” where melted hot wax was poured through the end of a metal keyhole into a pot of cold water while the participant was told to think of what they want answered or a dream they have of achieving. The hardened wax was removed and a future was told based on the shapes.

Though tradition of St. Andrews Day is not as strong as it once was, with many practices for telling the future now forgotten, the festival continues to provide entertainment and social gatherings.
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