St. Jordan’s Day – Epiphany
On January 6th, the church celebrates the Epiphany. It bears different names across Bulgaria – the Cross Day, Voditsi, Vodokrashti, etc. According to beliefs, in the dead of night before the Epiphany, the sky opens and anyone that sees that will be granted his wish by God. It is also believed that water purifies at that moment, and is granted unnatural strength.
This is why this day is also known as Voditsi and Vodokrashti. Everyone participates in the purifying of the water to ensure his health, and after the mass, the priest throws the holy corss in the water.
Young men jump into the water – despite the cold – to try to find and take the cross out of the water. The one to take out the cross will be blessed throughout the year. Ill people also bathe in the water, in which the cross was thrown.
If the thrown cross freezes, then the year will be healthy and plentiful. If the weather is cold and dry, the soil will be rich this year. At the end of the ceremony, the priest sprinkles the people with basil dipped into holy water. St. Jordan’s day is also considered the last of the so-called “dirty days”. Today is served the third, final censed dinner.
Walnuts, corn and a candle from the previous censed dinners are present on the table along other lenten meals. The meal includes a round loaf, stuffed cabbage leaves, stuffed peppers, beans, wine. Today is the name-day of anyone named Iordan, Iordanka, Dancho, Dana, Boyan, Bogdan, Bogdana, etc.
On January 6th, the army’s banners also get blessed. This tradition is centuries old.