Bulgarians Celebrate Family Day

The Bulgarian Orthodox Christians mark Sunday the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, a day traditionally dedicated to the Christian family and youth.

The liturgical feast is also celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church.

The feast is associated with an event recounted in the apocryphal Infancy Narrative of James where Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they would bear a child. As a sign of gratitude for the gift of their daughter, they brought her to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. Mary remained in the Temple until puberty, at which point she was assigned to Joseph as guardian.

The feast originated as a result of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary the New, (destroyed in 614) built in the year 543 by the Byzantines under Emperor Justinian I near the site of the ruined Temple in Jerusalem.

The feast was celebrated in the monasteries of Southern Italy by the ninth century and was later introduced into the Papal Chapel in Avignon in the year 1372 by a decree of Pope Gregory XI.

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates it as one of its twelve Great Feasts, with the first documented celebration of the feast in any calendar being the mention of Entry of the All-Holy Theotokos – i.e. into the Temple in the 11th-century Menology of the Byzantine emperor Basil II.

On this day the Orthodox Church recommends that parents take their children to the temples and tell them stories about their faith and about Biblical events.

The folklore says that on November 21 one can guess the weather for the next year – if the day is warm and sunny, the winter will be cold, the summer dry and the harvest weak. If it rains or snows, one can expect a snowy winter, rainy summer and good crops.

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