Kadripäev – Saint Catherine’s Day
According to traditional accounts, Saint Catherine was beheaded by Emperor Maximinus II around 305 AD in Alexandria. 25 November became the commemoration date in the 10th century, and many churches and particularly nunneries in Europe were dedicated to Saint Catherine. In Lutheran countries, this day has also been associated with Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. Saint Catherine’s Day marks the arrival of winter and it is associated with women.
In Europe, Saint Catherine became a popular guardian spirit of cattle and an assistant to women in labor.
Saint Catherine’s Day (Kadripäev) is similar to another day called Saint. Martin’s Day (Mardipäev) and Halloween in America.
Comparison: Saint Catherine’s Day and Halloween
- Similarities – on both events people put on clothes that they usually don’t wear and visit other people homes.
- Differences – on Halloween people make themselves look more like superheroes or creepy creatures. They ask “Trick or treat”, take their candy or perform some mischief if candy is not given.
In Estonia, the day was first celebrated in the 16th century when the ancient religious rituals and daughter’s initiation ceremonies merged with Saint Catherine’s Memorial Day. It was considered a women’s holiday because by that time women managed to finish livetock-related work.
On Saint Catherine’s Day motly girls go outside, turn themselves into kadris, kadri beggars (kadrisandid). Kadri beggars sing, play instruments, dance or recite poems to get premisson to step inside a house. Then they say different wishes to people and the household for good luck, get treats and leave the house singing.
Kadri`s Day Clothing
Kadris have always worn white and pretty clothes, they dress as women. Their masks and costumes are not dramatic, but femalely delicate and lovely. The main components of the costume are stockings, dresses, skirts, coats, scarves, hats, veils and gloves, all white. They also paint their cheeks and nose red. Later they also make fake braids from linen, cotton wool, clothes and other convenient materials. The most important idea is to look beautiful.