Orthodox Christians today, on September 21, celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin.
On this day, at the cusp of the Old and New Testaments, the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom the Lord called to become the Mother of the Savior of the world, was born.
Her birth is considered a miracle, as well as the appearance of the son of God - Jesus Christ.
History of the holiday
According to the church tradition, Mary was born of pious parents, Joachim and Anne. They lived to the elderly age but had no children, which became the source of their grief and caused public condemnation.
Joachim and Anne began to pray earnestly and the angel appeared saying: "The Lord has heard your prayer, you will conceive and give birth, and the whole world will speak of your offspring."
Having learned the joyful news, the couple met at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem. And soon a daughter was born in the family. The happy spouse gave a vow to consecrate his child to God and gave his daughter Mary to the Temple of Jerusalem, where she served until adulthood.
How it is marked?
Starting from the sixth century, the birth of the Virgin Mary began was celebrate as a great event.
On this day, the Orthodox Christians come to the temples in festive clothes, where solemn worship take place. In prayers, they turn to the Virgin Mary, who has become the unifying entity between God and the human race and ask her for protection and blessing.
The meal always followed the worshipping. In particular, the lunches when all relatives gather round-the-clock were arranged.
What can and should be done?
The Nativity of Mary is traditionally considered a women's holiday, the day when the woman is to be honoured as a bearer of the family.
Women on this day usually decorated the icons of the Virgin Mary with viburnum and late flowers put candles near the icon of the Mother of God in the church. People who do not have children prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was believed that on this day their desire to have children would come true.
In addition, the women cooked mushroom or fish soup, and baked pies with fish and mushrooms.
Particular attention was paid to charity: it was believed that if a woman is giving on that day to the poor, the Mother of God gives her wealth in the house.
What should not be done
There are no special prohibitions on this day, but traditionally there some restrictions.
So, on this day you cannot engage in hard physical labour: delay your housework, work in the garden.
Church recommends fasting. And this applies not only to the consumption of meat or alcohol. One should also avoid quarrels with the relatives, avoid conflict, try to solve any controversial issues in a peaceful way.