Autumnal Equinox: Slavic Traditions and Rites

Friday, 22 September 2017
Autumnal Equinox: Slavic Traditions and Rites

From the ancient times the eternal days of the Spring and Autumnal Equinox, the Winter and Summer Solstice were worshiped by Slavs regarding nature. They were associated with significant events in lives, in the work of farmers as well as they were envisioned by events in their personal lives and a lot of Slavic rituals were accorded with them.
Autumn Equinox name means the end of summer, it is the point of summer work and harvesting completion. In 2017 it celebrates on 22 of September. The old name of the holiday is Avsen (otherwise Ovsen, Tausen) may seem to be very assonant with the word "autumn" in Slavic languages.
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The Autumnal Equinox is also considered to be the astronomical beginning of autumn season. This very day the night and day duration on Earth is the same and equals to 12 hours. In the days of the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox the sun rises almost exactly in the east and sets in the west.
Interesting to know that the day of the autumn equinox was also considered to be a new year in the Old Slavonic calendar. That time a New Year began, a new countdown and "new summer" according to the old chronology, because the year was counted on the fly. That holiday was called Radogosch or Tausen. During the autumnal equinox Slavs who had gathered the harvest, glorified Rod and asked him to give them prosperity, harvest and addition to families the next year.
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In astrology the day of the autumn equinox is one of the four important temporary cardinal points of the year. During the autumnal equinox a powerful energy releases in space that gives a rise to a new action and a new countdown. This impulse saturates all life on earth and gives an opportunity to start everything new, it shows an initiative and performs an action. Therefore during the day of the equinox you can regard, transform and move on to another way of life, a new spiral of life, activity, in the new season and simultaneously new energies appear in space.
Almost in all ancient cultures these days were marked by special holidays and rituals. They also had much of magic character.
In traditions of old Slavs the Autumnal Equinox was the time to stop, turn off their daily vanity, calm their thoughts, ponder, look at the setting sun, listen to the breath of nature, breathe in tandem with the rhythm of the universe as the wise ancestors did in ancient times.
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Regarding different rites, one interesting thing is that on the day of the autumnal equinox the Slavs lit a fire in honor of Svarog - the Creator God of our Universe. It was believed that Svarog could be seen at night of the autumnal equinox when looking at the Big Dipper.
The most notable superstitious belief of people's festivities and feasts have been pies. While having dinner all grandmothers and grandfathers are being remembered, all who turned toes to the daises but continue to protect their relatives from the evil ill. Therefore, on the day of Svarog or the day of the autumnal equinox, large memorial feasts were held in the center of the settlement, tablecloths were laid on the ground and they served different dishes: cottage cheese, pies with cabbage, cheese, berries and honey. To feed the ancestors and Svarog himself brought milk and butter. After the holiday, in the evening everyone went to the bathhouse and asked the common ancestor of Svarog to purify their soul and body, which signified complete health.
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Svarog is also considered the patron of the conjugal union, therefore traditionally the month of September has long been a month of weddings. If you want to get married before the next day of the autumnal equinox then observe the entire Svarog celebration and ask Svarog to help you meet your spouse and engage with him a sacred conjugal union.
Another well-known rite concerned rowan that was of great importance for Slavs - the rowan was inserted in the evening between the window frames, so that it would help the Sun to protect the house from the dark forces.
Apart of meeting the guests and meals the day of the autumnal equinox is full of rites and rituals, promising a happy winter and an early friendly spring. Speaking about ceremonies that should be spent this day we may say that it depends on the day the holiday turned to.
If the equinox turned the waning moon, rituals should be done to clean the house and person. Attracting rituals (on wealth, health and happiness) will have to be postponed until the growing nightly wanderer namely until October.
Special rite is not to forget to bring order in life and in the everyday understanding: clean the house and thoroughly wash yourself in the bath. If one has evil thoughts or is filled with envy during the Equinox they should be mercilessly expelled from the heads so that they do not bring grief to the family.
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Leaving the house it is necessary to burn the fallen leaves because everything that is bad and unnecessary in life burns together with them. Having a yawn the wind will scatter your leaves and you will have to live with your problems for one year more.
When entering the house it is necessary to bring ash-berries. Its bright clusters, hanging on the windows like lights, will not let in the darkness and sorrows which strive to use the winter long nights and evenings to subdue people.
At the completion of internal and external cleansing it would be great to fill the house with fragrance of wormwood or nettle. Even living in the city and not having a possibility to get a grass you may find wormwood candles or bunches of herbs that during winter time will fill the accommodation with alive perfume.
Any action during the day of the Autumnal Equinox is directed to throw off the weight of the passed days and feeling yourself cleaned and updated to enter the severe winter.
Happy Equinox to you, generous autumn and full winter Dear readers!
Photos: shutterstock.com, pokon.kiev.ua (Pokon Roda).

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