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Epiphany Eve: the customs and traditions - January 18, 2006

January 18 2006

January 18 Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany Eve - the eve of the great feast, when the tradition of the Orthodox churches for the first time committed the rank of the Great Blessing of Water.

In Christ the Savior Cathedral, after a solemn service to make the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II.

According to the church charter, the believers in this day of fasting and not to eat any food until the consecration of the water. Authorized only by a dish of cooked cereals, the so-called sochivo. The temples are made special prayers to send down blessed water power, after which the priest three times plunges into the water cross. This vodoosvyaschenie called for special grand solemnity of ritual, imbued with the memory of the Savior's baptism in the Jordan.

Epiphany water is called the Great agiasmoy, it is most holy. According to the teachings of the Church, anyone touch it, is given a "blessing, health, purification and blessing." According to the testimony of St. John Chrysostom, it remains fresh for a year or more.

Baptismal water, our ancestors were sprinkled dwellings, and Epiphany snow wash. The very same festival was named Vodokreschi since that day committed Blessing of the Waters in the rivers and lakes. Whole families went on Jordan, "as they called the ancestors of this ceremony, during which the cross was lowered into the hole and made a prayer service with a procession. Baptism - one of seven major sacraments.

On the eve of Russia was accepted to do, "Jordan": on the rivers cut down large cross-shaped hole in the upper part of which was built ice sculptures in the shape of a cross, a dove, and other Christian symbols. This practice is prevalent today. For example, at the Moscow Compound Optina after the Epiphany service water is blessed Ostankino pond, after which the congregation, including children, bathe in it.

January 18 is always read on the eve of Russia as one of the greatest festivals of the year. This day is a preparation for the Epiphany, but because most of the traditions and customs, about twelve summarize the Christmas cycle.

First and foremost, as a sign of completion of the Christmas period, on the eve of the Baptism of the house removed all the symbols of Christmas festivities, ornaments and symbols of fertility, such as straw, ritual bread. In Eastern and Western Slavs out of the house carried the hay that had lain on the table all the yuletide, Serbs and Bulgarians were collected from the floor Christmas straw and hung it on buildings, in gardens and orchards, sometimes on fruit trees and fields, Ukrainians and Russian untied and carried out Home Christmas sheaf.

In many places in the Christmas Eve shooting ornaments handed down from the house of the Christmas accumulated debris and ash from the hearth, and pulled out not had time to burn until the day of badnyaka (ceremonial logs, burnt all the yuletide) and buried it in the ground in the middle of the field or hidden in a secluded location and stored until the next Christmas Eve. Ritual bread, lay in the "red corner" in the course of the Christmas holidays, were fed to livestock and poultry, in some places it does the same with the remnants of the Christmas meal.

In Russian villages on the eve of Epiphany water consecrated in temples, wells, or directly on the River. Water, sanctified in the church on the eve of the Epiphany, brought home and sprinkling her residential buildings, people, barn, pets, various household accessories and auxiliary.

Occurred on the eve of the Epiphany, and other rituals, mostly from among those held in conjunction with and on the eve of Christmas and New Year.For example, in many places it was customary to "Epiphany evening" to go home kolyadovat. In Macedonia, and some other places at this time committed by the final rounds of Rusal. In the Eastern Slavs in the Epiphany Eve praised plow. This ritual was supposed beneficial effects on the fertility of the land.

And yet, despite the numerous and diverse folk traditions, believing most of Christmas Eve trying to hold in the church - on the very beautiful, spiritual, comprehensive services, the eve of Epiphany.

Adapted from: ITAR-TASS,

See also:

House of Bread, or city-ghetto?

Copts - Christians of Egypt

East is preparing to meet Christ?

Pilgrimage to the bicycle saddle. The "Temples of Russia". Reportage

Константин Дятлов

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