Christians in Romania celebrate John the Baptist on January 7, the saint who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Saint John’s Day is one of the most important religious holidays in January, after the Epiphany Day celebrated on January 6, and marks the end of the winter holidays in Romania.
On this day, most Romanian go to churches to attend the religious services. Moreover, the believers wash their faces with the holy water (aghiasma in Romanian) they received on the Epiphany Day, as it is said that this way they will be safe and healthy in the year to come.
It is also believed that those who are sad on this day will have bad luck and will be unhappy all year. Thus, it’s better to not forget to smile on January 7.
Saint John the Baptist is also considered the patron saint of infants, and an old belief says that women who want to become mothers must pray to Saint John to give birth to healthy babies. Another tradition says that the Romanians shouldn’t do laundry or other work around the house on this day.
Nearly 2 million Romanians bear the name of John (Ioan, Ion, Ioana, Ionela, and so on), so don’t forget to wish them a happy name day!
In some regions of Romania, those who are named Ion get a special kind of celebration, called “Udatul Ionilor” (Watering the Johns). In Bucovina, people named Ion put a decorated fir tree at their gates and have parties. In Transilvania, Johns are carried to the nearby river and soaked into water.
Irina Marica, [email protected]
(Photo source: Crestinortodox.ro)