Today is IVANOVDEN (St. Johns Day)

Today is IVANOVDEN (St. Johns Day)

1/7/2019 9:00:00 AM

Name day of everyone named Ivan, Vanyo, Vanya, Yoan/Ioan, Yoanna/Ioanna, Yonko/Yonka, Yoto, Ivaylo, Ivo, Ivona, Kaloyan, Jan/Jean, and Janna (whose names all have the basic meaning of "God's blessing").

The ritual table on that day should always include the following dishes: boiled wheat, cooked beans, stewed dried fruit, banitsa (cheese pastry), baked blood sausage, baked loukanka sausage, pork ribs cooked with cabbage.

On Ivanovden, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Day of St. John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan River (John is Ivan in BG, hence Ivanovden, meaning the Day of John). John recognized and pointed out Jesus as the Messenger of God - therefore he was called Forerunner, since he was sent to prepare the way for the Lord Mesiah.

Ivanovden is a traditional folk festival, part of the rich in festivities cycle around Christmas and New Year. Essential for that day is the ritual involving water - the ritual bathing for good healths sake performed on Yordanovden/Epiphany day, continues on the next day too. The newly-wed men are bathed by the best man at their wedding, or the brides brother. Therefore, bathing can be seen as an element of the post-nuptial rituals, thus ending the wide range of various marital rituals. Bachelors bathe maidens on that day; as well as young man and all having their name day today are also being bathed.

The traditional concept of St.Ivan (John) as the patron saint of bestmanship or brotherhood in general, determines the widely popular visits by the newly-wed couple to their bestmans family. The newly-weds bring along a ritual loaf of bread, some meat and wine, and a common feast table is laid. That day the men perform the so-called "Ivanovstvo" ritual - they become fellow-brothers and, as a vow, they step in the glowing embers with their right bare foot. From this day on, their wives become fellow-sisters.