THE CONCEPT OF ANDREW’S DAY IN CROSS-BORDER CULTURAL SPACE

Ilga Šuplinska

Abstract


The sprouts of the research have appeared during the development of “Latgale Linguo-territorial Dictionary” (2012), creating a headword “Andreja dīna” (Andrew’s day) (Šuplinska 2012: 39–42). The goal of the article is to analyze a current layer of the concept of Andrew’s day in today’s society, culture, as well as to look for common traditions, ritual layers in the deepest perception of the concept, linking the Baltic and Slavic folklore and traditions of Christianity.

The results of the survey conducted in 2010 show, that the most well-known celebrations in Latgale are those, ones that have roots in Christian traditions, while at the beginning of the 21st century the celebration of Juoņa dīna (Summer solstice) is the most popular one. Andrew’s day, like Anna’s day, is not related to the ancient Latvian seasonal traditions, however, at the same time these two days have been characterizing concepts of the cultural space of Latgale for several centuries. It must be mentioned, that the popularity of this celebration is strengthened today with the particular measures organized in certain areas of Latgale (for example, Anna’s day – in Dagda, Bērzgale, F. Trasuns’ Museum “Kolnasāta” Andrew’s day – in Rēzekne).

There have been used linguo-cultural and comparable approaches in the research, viewing the topical, well-known layer of Andrew’s day as a name’s day, “additionally given passive features, which usually are known by a certain user group” (Степанов 004: 48). In this sense, Andrew’s day is revealed as a church calendar day and Andrew’s day as a popular tradition, ritual (“inner meaning, etymology [..] also known for its user so much, that it was the basis for other layers of the concept”; Степанов 2004: 48).

Andrew’s day is on the 30th of November according to the Catholic calendar, but according to the Orthodox and Old Believers’ calendar it is on the 13th of December, one of the newest days of celebration, that gained its popularity with the strengthening of the Christian traditions, by synthesizing folk and religious ritual elements. It must be admitted, that in the current territory of Latgale this tradition manifest itself more strongly (compared to other regions of Latvia), because:

1) Andrew’s day marks the end of the year and the beginning of Advent in Catholic Church;

2) it might have been promoted by the fact, that Latgale was a part of Rzeczpospolita (transition to the new calendar, Strengthening Catholicism);

3) the border area is characterized by a multi-ethnic composition and a mix of traditions.

To show that Andrew’s day tradition is topical in border cultural space, there will be described: firstly, prevalence of the person’s name, popularity, secondly, interaction between Christian and folkloric elements, most often in the brachyology layer, thirdly, the traditions of modern event in Rēzekne at Rēzekne Higher Education Institution (additional passive meaning, that has arisen in the last 20 years).

Studying Kārlis Siliņš’ “Dictionary of person’s names”, we can get a number of important facts on the prevalence of Andrew’s name in Latvia:

1) Andrew, from the Greek ἀνδρεῖος means ‘manly, brave’ and the first time in Latvia it was mentioned in 1204 in the Livonian Chronicle;

2) Latgale is the place, where the first time there were mentioned variants of the name Andrejs (Andrew), such as Andžejs (Ludza 1599), Andža, Andžs (Viļaka 1738), Andrīvs (Višķi 1762);

3) in K. Siliņš’ dictionary there are given 47 variants or derivatives of the name Andrew (Andrejs), which contain the root of the name Andrejs.

The statistics on persons’ names in Latvia and Lithuania slightly differs by its criteria, but it is regularly collected and is available in the Central Statistical Bureau data. In turn, the data collected by Russia is quite conditional and taken from the project “Планета имен и фамилий” (“The planet of names and surnames”) website, that since 2006 collects information on onomastic research studies, as well as provides the reviews and, where possible, the analysis on the most popular names (http://imja.name/index.shtml).

Studying the origin, prevalence and popularity of the name Andrew (Andrejs), there is a number of questions to be addressed to some research dedicated to onomastics, but it is clear, that this person’s name is still the second most popular name in Latvia (if to count together the names Andrejs and Andris), and the word is given to newborns and has taken the 14th place by its popularity in Lithuania (1991–2010), and still it is the most popular name in Slavic cultures.

Describing the concept of Andrew’s day in additional passive sense (church calendar day), it must be reminded, that the change of the actual and passive role has appeared in the relatively recent past. That is to say, until the Soviet occupation (after the World War II) there were used Catholic calendars in Latgale.

Semantics of Christian Andrew’s day is associated with the worship of St Andrew. St Andrew is the first of the 12 disciples of Christ (New Testament 1877: 101), a follower of John the Baptist. According to religious sources, in the year 67 on the 30th of November he was martyred on oblique (X type) cross, now commonly known as St Andrew’s cross.

In Ukrainian folklore there can also be found clear indications of the fact, that such celebration existed until the day of Saint Andrew: “one of the most poetic and unique winter holidays is Калита [Kalita] festival (from “Kalendo”). In the past it was also celebrated on the 11th or 14th of December, but later the tradition to link it with Andrew’s day has become more common [13th of December – I. Š.]” (Cкуратiвский 1995: 248–249).

If to compare the evidence, which has remained in Baltic and Slavic folklore, then the ritual of preparing food and eating (also fortune telling) is different and has remained in Ukrainian folklore tradition. It must be mentioned, that herbal magic indications have remained fragmentary in Belarusian folklore. We are talking about a plant speedwell (Veronica officinalis), that was kept by young ladies as it is Andrew’s plant, which allows to keep the chosen person beside (Арцeменка 2013). Magical rituals are quite common:

1) deciding fate, divination of the chosen young man (uncommon – young lady), prediction of marriage, success–failure, next year forecasting;

2) the household magic, that is connected with weather observations, particularly water listening ritual.

In conclusion it must be emphasized, that the magic of Andrew’s day, that was used to predict winter and future, has more remained in Slavic folklore traditions, which certainly contributed to the worship of Saint Andrew preached by Orthodoxy, but it was not so significant in Catholic traditions. At the same time, though fragmentary, but the manifestations of destiny and household magic have remained in Latvian and Latgalian folklore.

As already mentioned at the beginning of the article, after Latvia gained its independence the celebration of Andrew’s day emerged throughout Latvia (passive meaning of a new concept has intensified). Since 1998 the traditions of Andrew’s day are celebrated at Rēzekne Higher Education Institution.


Keywords


Andrew’s day; concepts; linguo-cultural approach; Baltic and Slavic cultural space; folklore

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/latg2014.6.1663

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