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May 18, 2022

Epiphany and Saint John’s Day mark the end of feast days’ cycle

“Epiphany” (traditionally known in Romanian as Boboteaza) or “The Baptism of Jesus,” a Christian feast day that falls on January 6 and is also known as “The Revelation of God the Son,” and Saint John’s Day, celebrated on January 7, mark the end of the feast cycle dedicated to the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Boboteaza is part of a series of twelve feast days important for Christians and it reminds believers of what happened in the Jordan River before Jesus stepped into public life; for this reason, the Church also calls Boboteaza “The Revelation of God the Son,”, “The Godly Revelation,” or “The Epiphany,” the latter of which originates from Greek and signifies “manifestation,” “discovery,” or “revelation.” The day is piously celebrated by both Orthodox and Catholic Christians.
On the Eve of the Epiphany, priests visit believers’ homes to offer the benediction of the Holy Trinity by sprinkling holy water. All water sources are sanctified on this day and the priest throws a cross in one of them, after which several men dive into the water to retrieve it. It is believed that he who brings back the cross will be lucky all year long.
On January 6, Catholics also celebrate the Epiphany, which symbolizes the Magi’s announcement of the birth of Baby Jesus after having visited the New Born and brought him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Baptism of Jesus Christ is a feast day which entails a series of popular customs, beside the sanctifying of water. Thus, men usually participate in a water race to retrieve the cross thrown by the priest, whereas girls place basil under their pillows to ensure they will dream of their chosen one. Romanians celebrate Boboteaza in a similar manner as they do Christmas. In some regions, people go caroling, undo spells and perform incantations, have their fortune told, and practice divination with regard to the New Year.

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