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The Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a great Orthodox holiday present on the calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Eastern Slavs. In the folk tradition, this day marked the meeting of autumn and winter, and its name is associated with the first snow that "covered" the ground, indicating the coming cold.
According to legend, many centuries ago, Constantinople was besieged by Muslim Saracens. The city was threatened with destruction, temples and holy places - looting, and the townspeople - executions or life in slavery. For days, residents defended the city walls, and nights spent in prayers. Once they saw the Virgin Mary come down to them together with John the Theologian and John the Baptist. She raised the omophorion, part of her vestments, and sheltered the worshipers with it. At this moment, the temple shone with a wonderful light, and in the morning it became known that the enemy had stopped the siege and retreated.
Judging by data from historical sources, the celebration of Intercession in Russia began in the XII century under Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky, known for his piety. In memory of the appearance of the Virgin Mary to the inhabitants of Constantinople and the miracle of salvation, he ordered the construction of the first church of the Intercession.
In 2018, the Orthodox will celebrate Pokrov Day on October 14 (October 1 according to the old style). On this day, ceremonies will be held in the temples. It is advisable to visit the service with your family, be sure to read Our Father and Living Aid, as well as prayers dedicated to the holiday, and ask the Theotokos for intercession. In the evening you can sit at the table with the guests, but you should limit yourself to a modest dinner.
On this day in Russia, it was customary to finish preparations for the winter: people repaired fences, insulated huts, trying to manage to help those neighbors who could not do the work on their own, the elderly and widows.
On Pokrov day, as a rule, harvesting and all field work were completed (they believed that the brownie takes away all the bread from the one who works in the field after Pokrov). Believers today still believe that serious work at Pokrov should not be done. Cleaning, sewing, knitting, washing, construction, repair should be postponed until another day. In addition, on this holiday you can’t borrow money, drink alcohol and quarrel.
Cattle were no longer driven out to graze on meadows, and in the huts for the first time they flooded the stove and necessarily put there a log of fruit tree. To support the ancient tradition now, you can light a sprig of cherry or apple tree and walk around the apartment, filling it with aroma.
In everyday life of the common people, the word "cover" itself was not associated with a church legend. It was associated with the female custom of covering her head after marriage, so that from this day the time for autumn weddings began, and young girls asked the Virgin for a good groom. Early in the morning they came to the temple and lit candles. It was believed that the girl who will come first, and get married before everyone else. On the eve of the Intercession, it was customary to put on old well-worn clothes, and on the holiday itself, dress up in the best dresses and go to visit relatives.
Unmarried people believed that if you bake a loaf and leave it overnight on the windowsill, it would attract the groom. There were also special wedding plots that were read over a glass of water, so that later you could wash yourself with this charmed water. Mothers could also pray over unmarried daughters and ask the Virgin to find a suitable pair for them.
Even on this holiday, they loved to gather for girls' gatherings with games, dances and round dances, as well as play weddings. They believed that the marriage concluded on Intercession Day would be long, very happy and prosperous.
The hostesses baked pancakes, and the first pancake was divided into four parts, and each piece was placed in the corners of the hut. They did this to appease the brownie and fill the house with peace and harmony.
Many believe that if on Pokrov day pick mushrooms in the forest and dry them, and then hide them in a secluded place, wealth will come to the house.
The eldest woman of the family that day brought the children to the doorstep and poured water through a sieve in order to ward off diseases from them. This rite is carried out in our days, pouring water on a child through a sieve directly in the bath.
There was another strong rite: the inhabitants of the house knelt, and the mistress climbed into a chair with the icon of the Virgin and read a prayer.
Some folk signs on Pokrov day are associated with weather or natural phenomena:
- the more snow falls, the more weddings will be played;
- if a strong wind blows, there will be many brides;
- if not all leaves have flown from the trees - expect strong frosts;
- what is the weather like on Pokrov day, so winter is waiting.
People also believed that a cold winter would pass without troubles, if you help the poor and the poor, and the holiday is fun to celebrate with family and friends.
A lot of time has passed since then, but some good traditions should not be forgotten today. To offer a lonely old woman from a neighboring apartment to help with cleaning, to visit orphans in the orphanage with gifts, just to give alms at the temple - all the good will come back handsomely.