Epiphany, or Baptism – one of the main Orthodox holidays-is celebrated on January 19. The holiday begins on the evening of January 18, when all Orthodox celebrate Epiphany Christmas Eve. Christmas holidays end on January 19.
The feast of the Epiphany is one of the most ancient holidays of the Christian Church, established in the time of the apostles.
The main tradition of the holiday is the blessing of water. It is believed that water, consecrated on the eve of Epiphany, has a miraculous power and is able to heal ailments. Therefore, there is a tradition to dip into the ice hole (in addition, it is believed that the Epiphany water washes away all sins), and Thrifty Housewives collect water for the consecration of the house. People go to churches with empty bottles and get water that priests consecrated during the mass. It is believed that Holy water can be stored for a long time and not deteriorate.
In Russia, Greece, and some other countries, there is also a tradition of extreme bathing on the night of Epiphany. In Russia, Epiphany bathing became especially popular. For that purpose, ice is cut in advance on rivers and lakes, usually in the form of a cross, and priests read a special prayer over the water.
Epiphany water is also accepted to drink, and only on an empty stomach – as a Shrine or a drug. It is used for sprinkling temples and dwellings, for prayers to expel the evil spirit, and as a medicine for diseases.
On the day of Baptism, quarrels and swearing, any physical labor, including housework and crafts (sewing, knitting, embroidery) are prohibited. I remember my Mom didn’t let me to knit some days. I didn’t like it. For some reason, I especially wanted to craft on such days.
One of the main folk traditions is considered to be divination. That custom has been preserved since pre-Christian pagan times that fell during the same winter period.
It is believed that divination on Epiphany is the most powerful. It is during these days that you can learn a lot of interesting things about your future with the greatest certainty.
On Epiphany evening:
- The girl must leave the house and walk down the street. When she meets a man, she asks for his name. Most likely, this is the name of her future husband. *It didn’t work for me though, LOL 🤣
- The girl throws a boot through the gate. The toe of the boot shows the direction in which her future husband lives. *I’ve done this too 🤣
- Going to bed, the girl puts a piece of bread under the pillow and says: Betrothed-Mummers (Суженый-ряженый), come to me for dinner. The fiance must appear in a dream. *I’ve done that too, but I don’t see dreams🤣
- Divination in the name of the betrothed. Papers with names are placed under the pillow. In the morning, one is pulled out by touch. This name, according to legend,will belong to the betrothed.
- Divination for love. Take 3 glasses of water: with sugar, salt and a wedding ring already married friend. When the girl gets blindfolded, another girl changes glasses. The “blind” girl chooses at random and drinks from a glass: with sugar, she will have a new love, with salt – love failures, with a ring – soon to get married.
In General, there are a great many divinations on Baptism!!!!
For Russians, Epiphany frosts are a special period of winter. This is a period of several days (no more than a week), usually starting in the second half of January and considered the coldest. But the climate is changing. And this year in Tomsk, the Baptism was relatively warm.
Happy Epiphany to you!