The Annunciation (Good News Day) is one of the twelve greatest annual festivals that are always marked in red on the Orthodox calendar. This celebration is celebrated as a sign of receiving the good news of Mary that she will soon become the mother of the Son of God. What kind of holiday is this, how is it celebrated among the Orthodox, and what date is it? What you need to know about this day: how to meet and conduct it correctly without violating church canons and prohibitions?
What a feast of the Annunciation: A Brief History
The biblical story of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary from the Holy Spirit is described in the Gospel of Luga. According to the Bible, the Archangel Gabriel told the good news of Mary that she would become the mother of the Savior of the world. Nine months later, from this day, Presnodeva gave birth to her first child. This day subsequently became the feast of the Nativity of Christ.
"Rejoice, gracious! The Lord is with you; blessed are you between wives." (Luke 1.28)
The name of the holiday, which exists now, has come into use since the 7th century. This day was called differently:
- Greetings of Mary
- Beginning of Atonement
- Conception of Christ
Many famous painters of different centuries have perpetuated this celebration in their paintings, mosaics and icons. The most famous of them:
|Artist||Date of writing|
|Leonardo da Vinci||1472-1475|
|Fra Beato Angelico||1426|
|Dante Gabriel Rossetti||1850|
What date is celebrated in 2020?
The Annunciation is an enduring and independent of other Orthodox celebrations holiday, which is celebrated annually on the same day. Therefore, it does not make sense to look into the church calendar each time to find out what date it is marked. The easiest way to remember this date.
So, in 2020, as before, and later, the Annunciation is celebrated by believing Christians on April 7. Catholics who live according to the Julian (old) calendar, this celebration occurs fourteen days earlier - March 25.
Sometimes it happens that the Annunciation and Easter coincide in the date of celebration. But this is an extremely rare occurrence that occurs a maximum of two times in a century. In the 20th century, this happened in 1912 and 1991. In the 21st century, the closest coincidence will take place only in 2075. In this case, this celebration is called Kyriopastha (from Greek: "the Lord").
As noted by the Orthodox?
The morning of the Annunciation begins with a visit to the church, where women and girls go first. After all, the Orthodox holiday has long been considered a women's day as a charm. Therefore, all the prayers at the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary were aimed at solving those problems of young girls, wives and mothers that are currently available. The Virgin was asked about:
- intercession and patronage;
- successful marriage;
- replenishment in the family;
- family health;
- happy fate.
After the church service, everyone goes home, so that in peace, silence and consent to continue the celebration at the family table.
Traditions and ceremonies of celebration
Not all traditions that existed before are now being carried out one to one. Many of them, mostly pagan, generally went into oblivion. For example:
- Jumping over a bonfire.
- Consecration of grain before sowing.
- Ringing bells or fighting on copper utensils to protect cattle from wolves.
- Carrying coins to help you attract wealth.
Even in antiquity, on the Annunciation, it was customary to release pigeons into the wild. A similar custom is now used in large temples. In particular, in the Annunciation Cathedral of the Kremlin in Moscow, the Patriarch himself releases pigeons into the air.
The tradition of preparing the so-called Annunciation salt still exists in certain regions and villages. There is an opinion that this product, added to food, will not only preserve health, but also help a sick person to recover.
The recipe for the preparation of the Annunciation salt is as follows:
- He will buy a pack of large salt, without bargaining and change.
- Before dawn, April 7, heat in the oven or burn in the oven until dark.
- During preparation, read “Our Father” or another Annunciation prayer.
- Pour the finished salt into linen bags and store until a special case of use.
You can always carry a small portion of salt with you. This will allow a person to protect himself from the negative impact of people who, perforce, can cause damage.
Order of worship
The color of all the Mother of God holidays is white or sky blue. Therefore, the priests' robes on this day are appropriate. Solemn services begin with a great supper, which goes into an all-night vigil (only in cathedrals of large cities).
After the liturgy of St. St. John Chrysostom, priests tell the laity about the very essence of the holiday, about how an angel appeared to Mary and told her the good news that she had become the chosen of the Lord and would soon give birth to the Son of God. Thus, the great mystery of the Incarnation is explained.
The church also blesses the prosphora, which are distributed to the parishioners. These small round loafs are further stored in the house behind the icons, protecting everyone living in it from diseases. One prosphora is eaten by all members of the family.
What can not be done on this day?
Any Orthodox on the day of major church holidays tries to postpone all kinds of work. In particular, from what cannot be done, it is worth highlighting:
- house and courtyard cleaning;
- work in the garden and garden.
As people say on this day:
"The bird does not nest, the damsel does not weave."
For those who decide to marry the Annunciation, it is important to remember that the wedding ceremony during the fasting is not performed, as this is a violation of Orthodox traditions. Also at the Annunciation memorial services and prayers are not performed. It is better to pray for the departed relatives at this time by ourselves and at home.
What can I eat?
The Annunciation always comes in fasting. Therefore, what you can eat and what you can’t determine a given period. All dishes that are prepared without the use of meat and dairy products are considered permitted. You can eat:
- vegetable salads;
- lean sweets and dried fruits.
But will there be enough of these treats if guests come to the house? Sure. Agree that the hands of a skilled housewife can cook any ordinary vegetable so that you lick your fingers. Even if you do not use the currently forbidden foods and seasonings.
Signs and prohibitions of the holiday
The weather signs for this day are as follows:
- Rain - to a good crop of rye and to a rich catch of fish.
- Thunderstorm is a sign that nuts will be deformed.
- Sunny weather portends a good wheat crop, and morning fog - to crop failure.
- The absence of clouds in the sky - to summer thunderstorms.
- There are few stars in the sky, which means chickens will poorly lay eggs.
- What is the weather like on the Annunciation, and so on Easter.
It is not worth planting seedlings or sowing grain for the Annunciation - neither of these will sprout. They also say that on this day you need to beware of fire, which can burn at times more than at other times.
The big and bright holiday Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is traditionally celebrated according to church rules and principles, which should be followed by all Orthodox Christians not only in Russia but also around the world.