The Orthodox Christians celebrate the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple on February 15. It is one of the 12 Great Feasts that symbolizes not only the meeting of the humanity and God but also the meeting of the winter and spring.
History of Feast
The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple appeared at the liturgic calendar of the church in IV century for the first time. However, it was not treated as the independent holiday but as the day that ends the 40-day-cycle after the Epiphany.
According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the Infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days (inclusive) after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son, in obedience to the Torah. Upon bringing Jesus into the temple, they encountered Simeon. The Gospel records that Simeon had been promised that 'he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ'. When he swept up Jesus he claimed that this infant will become the Savior. The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is the landmark meeting of the Books of the Old and New Covenant and acquaintance of the humanity with Messiah.
Ceremonies with Candles and Water
The early Slavs also celebrated the meeting of the winter and spring this day. February 15 was the only day during the winter when it is possible to hear the thunder. It gave the second name for the holiday 'Gromnytsia'.
Traditionally people sang the heathen charm-songs for warm and good summer, set the great fires near the roads and told fortunes.
This day people blessed the water in the church, then the candles, lighted them and brought home. According to the beliefs, these candles have the strength to protect the home and members of the family. The water considered to be healing. It was taken from the icicles and added to the regular water.
This holiday is connected to a lot of the superstitions such as predictions based on the weather, fortunetelling and financial superstitions. Also, there were the prohibitions for this day. People were not able to be bored as it is the happy holiday, to quarrel as it can attract worries. It was also not allowed to work, excepting the cooking, animal care, laundry, washing in the baths.
At the same time, the most positive activity for the holiday was the visiting of the church.