Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Barking Dogs on Eve of St Andrew's Day

Commons Wikimedia: Unidentified Argiope
This handsome creature is Argiope, a spider who spins silver webs starting with a diagonal cruciform shape, against which it aligns its legs.


It is sometimes known as the St Andrew's Cross spider.


Tomorrow is St Andrew's Day - more of that tomorrow.


There are some odd superstitions associated with the eve of St Andrew's Day, mostly connected with finding a mate.




I don't believe any of them, but it's fun to speculate how these traditions started.

  • ARE YOU A SINGLE WOMAN? Do you want to marry? Then today is the time to listen out for barking dogs and note where they are. Why? Because your future husband will come from that direction - so they say.
  • NOT HEARING ANY BARKING DOGS? Never mind. Ask St Andrew's help. Sleep naked tonight and your future husband will visit your dreams - so they say.
  • TOO COLD TO SLEEP NAKED IN NOVEMBER? Then wrap up warm and sit up to midnight. At midnight look for a sign that you will have a husband - this might be difficult to identify.
  • YOU HAVEN'T SEEN A SIGN? THEN MAKE ONE. Throw your shoe at a door. If the shoe falls with the toe pointing towards the exit you'll be married within the year - so they say.
  • HAS ALL THAT MADE YOU HUNGRY? Why not eat an apple? But first peel it carefully, so you remove the whole peel without any break. then throw the peel over your shoulder. As the peel lies on the floor what letter does it most resemble? That will be the first letter of your husband's name - so they say.

Why do such superstitions persist? Do you know any other St Andrew's Eve traditions or variations of the above?

2 comments:

  1. Because they're fun? Because they give an illusion of control? I've never understood them myself but as you say they persist and I know people who get really worried if I walk under a ladder or don't throw a pinch of salt over my shoulder when I spill some.

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  2. Perpetua - I think the illusion of control is probably important. Also some of the rituals involved provide a way for a person to discover their deepest desires e.g. if you are disappointed that the apple peel falls in the shape of a 'C' when the person you most fancy has a name beginning with another letter.

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