The Conception of the Holy Mother of
God by Saint Anna.
Name day of everyone named Anna, Ana, Anita,
Aneta, Anette (the name Anna means “blessing” in Hebrew).
In the folk legends Saint Anna, the mother of Virgin Mary, is the
protector of marriage, the family, virginity, pregnant women and the
widows. Therefore, on that day, women are not supposed to work, and
men don’t go outside their village, otherwise mermaids would fall in
love with them. In the evening men burn dry ox dung in front of the
door to drive away evil spirits from the house.
Women rub the udders of cows, sheep and goats with wood
ashes, garlic and fat. The domestic birds
kept closed to be protected against magic. The young girls put a plate
of salt and wheat under the oven, cover it with a white cloth and in
the morning feed the cattle with it for health. If a man enters the
house first, it is believed the newly born animals during the year
will be male. This explains why women usually hurry to visit their
neighbours first. This is the day of all medicine men and women.
Saint Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, was the youngest
daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe
of Levi. She married Saint Joachim, who was a native of Galilee. For a
long time Saint Anna was childless, but after twenty years, through
the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to
them the Conception of a Daughter, Who would bring blessing to the
entire human race. The Conception by Saint Anna took place at
Jerusalem, where also the Most Holy Virgin was born. The majority of
icons dedicated to the Conception by Saint Anna, portray the Most Holy
Virgin trampling the serpent underfoot.
In the icons, Saints Joachim and Anna are usually depicted with
hands folded in prayer; their eyes are also directed upward and they
contemplate the Mother of God, Who stands in the air with outstretched
hands; under Her feet is an orb encircled by a serpent (symbolizing
the devil), which strives to conquer all the universe by its power.
There are also icons of Saint Anna holding the Most Holy Virgin on her
left arm as an infant. Saint Anna's face has a look of reverence.
From ancient times this Feast was especially venerated by pregnant
women in the whole Orthodox Christian world.
St. Anna's Summer Feast day
(Dormition of the Mother of the Holy
Virgin) - July 25
This is the second day of the year dedicated to St. Anna.
Saint Anna is
celebrated as the guardian of pregnancies, birth and motherhood. This
day is supposed to be free of any work – otherwise women would
miscarriage or have hard delivery. The mistresses of the houses make
bread without yeast and give it away for the health of young children;
that way the saint is going to protect them of fire or fever. Saint
Anna’s icon is decorated with flowers and gifts by church-goers.
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