On the night of the 18th to 19th of January Ukrainians celebrate Epiphany. It is one of the main religious holidays among the orthodox. Epiphany is a great Christian holiday full of traditions and customs. Besides, this holiday symbolize the end of Christmas Svjatki, which are lasted from the 7th to 19th of January. It is the end of this magic period with songs, divination and miracles. This holiday is well-known around the world because of its main ritual – taking the dip in the frozen water. The foreigners are usually surprised with this tradition and have a lot of jokes about it.
The history of celebrating Epiphany is rooted in the distant past. At this day the baptism of Jesus Christ happened. He was baptized in the river Jordan. So this holiday came to Ukraine with Christianity.
You can’t celebrate Epiphany without holy water. That’s why in every church the water is blessed by priests. Holy water must be presented in every house. It is believed that it brings health and wealth to the family. Also the priests go to the rivers, lakes or special artificial pools, where they do the blessing ceremony. If the water is covered with ice, the ice hole with the shape of the orthodox shape is made beforehand. The water is blessed and ready for dipping. The bravest Ukrainians celebrate Epiphany with the dipping three times in the blessed frozen water. They believe that this water is such holy and miraculous as the water of the river Jordan, in which Jesus Christ was baptized. There is the superstition that if you dip in the blessed water, you won’t be ill during the whole year.
Epiphany night is the last opportunity for the ladies to divine in this year. The young ladies can get to know their destiny or the name of their future soul mate. Also it is believed that the heaven is opened at this night and angels can listen to your wishes.
There are a lot of superstitions at this holiday. And according to the folk beliefs they are the most trustworthy. Here are few of them:
- If the weather is clear and cold, the summer will be dry and if the weather is snowy and cloudy, the harvest will be large;
- If there are blue clouds in the sky, it will be the harvest year;
- If the weather is clear and bright, the harvest will be bad;
- If you hear a loud dog barking, the hunting will be good and there will be a lot of quarry;
- If the lady meets a young man in the morning of the 19th of January, she will get marry this year and if she meets an old one, she will be single one more year.
Our ancestors were very superstitious and believed in all this signs and beliefs. Actually in the modern Ukraine there are not so many people who keep all these traditions. Nowadays young people like to celebrate Epiphany with different winter entertainments. For example, they go to the skating rinks, visit the holiday fairs or take part in numerous holiday festivals. Come to Ukraine and join them!