For those who are familiar with the Slavic Vedic culture it's no secret that almost all Christian holidays are an imposition (and in fact a substitution) of the holidays, which our ancestors marked in indissoluble harmony with Mother Nature. The essence of this substitution is to tear the people from their native source, which feeds it with energies, which heals the spirit, mind and body. Examples of such a substitution can be given a lot.
The Feast of the Epiphany in the modern Orthodox calendar has some names: "The baptism of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ" or "The Holy Epiphany." "Epiphany" ("Theophany", "Enlightenment"). Such names were given to this holiday in antiquity. In the early Christian tradition Epiphany had two different names that were listed as two festivals, which then became one. In fact, the festival arose in honor of the rite of baptism that the Baptist John produced over the 30-year-old Jesus. Therefore, the main ritual of this celebration is the Water Consecration. The people call it Baptism, and Epiphany, still its essence does not change because of it. It is referred to the most ancient and very important twelve manor festivals and is celebrated according to a new style on January 19.
History of the Holiday
Information about the origins of the holiday appeared for the first time in the New Testament and early Christian literature. It was noted that in the waters of the Jordan River, a thirty-year-old Jesus Christ was baptized by John.
The Jewish people eagerly awaited the imminent arrival of the Messianic messenger on earth, who in the world would organize the kingdom of righteousness, punish sinners and reward the righteous. Therefore, many Jews took for the lamb of God's strange man who was in the wilderness. He was dressed in poor and simple clothes made of camel's wool, fed on what he found among the stones. And this man was John the Baptist (the Baptist). The forerunner is translated from the Old Slavonic language as "a precursor, a precursor". The last Old Testament prophet was sent to the earth to warn and prepare mankind for a meeting with the Savior, who has already appeared in the world and has been living in that sinful land. Naturally, John knew his destiny. That is why he actively propagated, offering Jews sincere obedience and washing away from their sins by taking a ritual bath in the waters of the Jordan.
John the Baptist was surprised, embarrassed, confused when he realized that the God-man Christ, the most sinless, not in need of repentance, wants John to baptize Him in the waters of a small Jordan River, which had flown into the lifeless Dead Sea. And this, too, bore a certain symbol. Nothing other than the rapid flow of a river between the two highest mountains and located in the territory of Israel - the birthplace of Jesus, was supposed to take all the immorality and forever leave it in the dead pond. The forerunner was firmly convinced that he needed to be baptized by Christ, but the Savior's resolve removed all doubts. As soon as the rite was performed, and the savior emerged from the water element, the heavens spread out and a large crowd present on the shore saw the dove and heard the blessing of Christ by the Father-God.
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Actually, so God told people about His Beloved Son. Therefore this holiday is called "The Holy Epiphany". Since the feast of Epiphany the ancient Slavs began a new year. In their minds, this was the border, breaking which people changed the indiscriminate, idle life during Christmas time on a clear, orderly, stable and chaste reality.
The Baptismal Day put everything in its place: it began as though a new countdown, "closed" the boundary between "the earth and the skies", stopped the connection of man with "other" worlds, and returned him to his usual life. In fact, this holiday was completed by Christmas trees, which were interpreted by the people's concept as a period without a cross. After all, the newly born Jesus was not yet baptized. In the past, there were "terrible evenings", on which the "evil spirit" was rampaging and walking. After all, the baptismal ritual, and especially the water consecrated by Jesus, had purifying properties.
On the eve of the upcoming Orthodox holiday was a strict fast. Abstained all day completely from eating, not only adults, but even teenagers and children. In the evening they ate rice with honey and raisins, bread with water or compote, lean porridge (osovo), pancakes made of vegetables, pancakes with honey, soppers with berries. Everyone who had at least the slightest opportunity, went to the temples for work in the evening. On the Epiphany Christmas Eve, at the end of the Divine service, the first water consecration took place. The second great consecration of the water was the next day, on a feast.
Traditions for the baptism of the Lord
The traditions of the celebration of the water consecration in all the Slavs were similar. The unique atmosphere of the feast of Baptism, caused by a lot of people in the temples, where the biggest vats with holy water were located, the frosty air coming from the street reigned on this day! Under the prayer song and the chime of the bells to the lakes and rivers, and all other ponds, huge crowds of Slavs gathered for the great Water Consecration. The clergy dressed in amazingly white robe. In the ice, the water-holes were made by axes with a cross-shaped ice-hole - "Jordan". Priests singing triumphs three times grandly immersed in the cross-shaped "Jordan" cross, after which the water was considered consecrated. Everyone carefully collected it and carried it in solemn silence, so that the water would not spill and not lose its sanctity, to their homes.
In the illuminated ice-hole, despite the fierce frost, they bathed. Epiphany water was drunk by all members of the family on a sip, it tried to sprinkle all the dwelling, farmstead and even domestic birds and animals. The power of the baptismal water was immense. It cast out demons, evil spirits, made people energetic and strong, healed exclusively all spiritual and many bodily diseases, healed wounds. It is scientifically proved that unique features are collected on this night and the most usual well or tap water. Keep it in sealed containers and jars until the next water consecration.
Folk features of Epiphany Eve
In an hour (not long) until midnight, a bowl of water was put on the table. If the water at midnight rustles - it was a sign, fled to the street, looked into the open skies and sincerely prayed. Everything was coming true; at night they went out into the courtyard (to the stable) to overhear what the cows and horses talk about, because they believed that they could talk about everyday problems and even predict the fate of their masters.
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In the villages on Epiphany evening grandmothers and maidens filmed snow on the haystacks. The old women knew that this snow was healing, they could cure the most serious ailments. Girls who always dreamt of being beautiful, washed themselves and bleached the skin. Epiphany snow was thrown into the wells, so it helped to keep water and moisture in the ground all year, even in very dry summers. They burned manure in the middle of the courtyard in order to warm the parents in the next world; in the crib they set up a vessel with pancakes for the brownie to appease him and get favor with the pet; within two weeks after the watering in the ice holes was forbidden to wash, because the impure force sent after Svyatok into the water could get out, grabbing for the linen, a piece from the candle, which was sprinkled with holy water on the Epiphany Christmas Eve during the service, was attached to the cows between the horns, the horses for the first time, in the spring, driving them out to pasture to save the cattle from the wood in the forest, from the water spirit in the water.
According to folk beliefs of the Eastern Slavs, bathing in the consecrated baptismal water on Epiphany Day was obligatory for everyone, but especially for the participants in fortune-telling and holy festivities with clownish costume. It was made to improve their health, the participants to wash off the abomination of demonic behavior. Therefore how unique Slavs culture is.