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Priests bless waters in celebration of Epiphany Day (Boboteaza) in Romania

Christians in Romania celebrate the Epiphany Day today (January 6), the day when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. This day, called ‘Boboteaza’ in Romania, together with Saint John’s Day – or Sfantul Ion (celebrated on January 7) symbolize the end of the winter holidays. They are some of the most popular religious holidays.

The day before the Epiphany Day is a day of black fasting – no eating and drinking (except water) from dawn until dusk. According to Romanian traditions, single young girls who put a twig of basil under their pillow the night before Boboteaza will dream their future husband.

For Romanians, this day is one of purity and cleanness, so the waters are blessed. Numerous people attend the mass on this day and fill their bottles with the blessed water, called ‘Aghiasma’ in Romanian. This water is said to have miraculous powers and protects people of diseases.

On this day, the religious ceremony takes place outdoors, usually near a large body of water that is blessed by the priest. If lakes and rivers are frozen, it is customary for people to cut a cross of ice and mark the place of service with it. In the absence of ice, a large wooden cross will mark the place. At the end of the ceremony the priest will throw the cross into the water and young men will go to search for the cross, in order to get purified by all sins.

Old people say that if the weather is nice on the Epiphany Day, the year will be rich in bread and fish.

Irina Popescu, irina.popescu@romania-insider.com

(photo source: Wikipedia)