Thursday, 15 January 2015 18:38

The Tradition of Epiphany

Epiphany  |  Крещение 

Baptism (or Epiphany) is one of the main festivals celebrated by Orthodox Christians on January 19 and dedicated to the baptism of Jesus Christ in the water of the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Catholics celebrate Epiphany in memory of the worship of the three magi kings.) Water since symbolizes purification.

Ever since ancient times, the Baptism in Russia was observed with special traditions, and has survived to this day.

When the Christmas-tide came to an end, the living quarters were traditionally cleaned, swept, straw in the houses were taken outside and given to the livestock animals to use.

The traditional and essential rite was the consecration of water, and it did not matter if it was the water from the church or from a natural body of water. In the latter case, people punched a small hole in the ice, and the priest blessed the water in the river, dropping into the hole a holy cross. It was considered useful to immediately plunge into the ice hole.

Some brave souls, not being afraid of frost, jumped into holy water in the hole, the rest of the people scooped holy water and put it on housing and agriculture items, as well as food supplies. It is even believed that the birth of a woman will be easy if she drinks holy water. The very process of consecration of water on Epiphany in Russia was carefully guarded from all evil forces. The water used during the baptism was saved for the rest of the year. 

It was believed that the warm weather at the Epiphany or wet snow meant a good harvest of crops and if a blizzard and wind occured - harvest of mushrooms and berries would be good.


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