Forgiveness Sunday: History and traditions

Source : 112 Ukraine

On this day, it is customary to forgive and ask for forgiveness; it helps spiritual cleansing and simply adds more bright moments to a person’s life. Forgiveness Sunday is a very important day for believers.
18:56, 10 March 2019

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Forgiveness Sunday is the last day of Maslyana (Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, celebrated during the last week before Great Lent) and, accordingly,  the last Sunday before Lent. This day does not have a specific date, since the beginning of the Lent falls on different days of February and March, depending on the date of Easter. In 2019, this day falls on March 10th.

This is a time of spiritual purification. It helps believers to prepare themselves for Lent, which begins the very next day.


On this day, according to tradition, Orthodox Christians ask each other for forgiveness for all the troubles and offenses caused during the year.

It is believed that Lent loses its high meaning if it comes down to simply abstaining from food, without mutual forgiveness of offenses.

Everyone can ask for forgiveness. At the same time, the importance of repentance (and the ability to do it) of the powerful in front of the weak, of the rich to the poor, of the young to the elderly people, etc., is particularly emphasized.

If a person apologizes to you on this day, in response, say "God will forgive, and I forgive you."

It is believed that on this day it is easier to forgive debts than on other days. At least to those debtors who are in a difficult financial situation.

Be sure to visit the church on this day. In Forgiveness Sunday you can see the old tradition there.

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Its essence is: people line up and ask for forgiveness of each other. The tradition originated on Mount Athos and eventually spread to other countries.

Its roots go back to the ancient tradition of Egyptian monks, who before the onset of Lent before Easter, diverged in the desert to fully devote themselves to prayer.

Since there were many dangers in the desert, the meeting before the fast could be the last, and the monks asked forgiveness of each other as before death.

On this day, it is customary not only to apologize and forgive but also to engage in godly deeds.

What should be done on Forgiveness Sunday?

Spend time with your family, ask for forgiveness from deceased relatives, because not only living ones deserve to hear repentance from you. Forgive them for insults to take the burden off your soul.

Repent and say a prayer for forgiveness.

And, of course, prepare for the beginning of Lent. Left all the negative thoughts in the past.

What you shouldn’t do on Forgiveness Sunday?

You shouldn’t swear and engage in heavy physical labor. You shouldn’t get angry, quarrel and be annoyed.

In the old days, people were convinced that on that Sunday evening the Last Judgment would take place, and on that day very pious people tried not to leave the house, recognized their sins and did not drink alcohol in any case.

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