Today, after Epiphany, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Council of St. Prophet John the Forerunner and Baptist. The day is popular as Ivanovden in Bulgaria (Ivan’s Day) and is among the holidays with the largest number people who have a name day in our country – over 347 thousand.
“Greatest among those born of women” – this is how, according to New Testament accounts, Christ himself called St. John. Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, he has an exceptional place among evangelical personalities with his birth and unique ministry – to preach repentance and baptize people to prepare them to meet the expected Savior.
“Saint John possessed such moral purity that he could have been called an angel and not a man. This purity of his heart enabled him to be a spectator of the divine mysteries.”
The Church has set six days a year and every Tuesday in honor of St. John. The most solemn holiday is today, after Epiphany, when the main work of his life is honored – the Baptism of Christ.
The name John and its derivatives mean “God’s grace”.
“Ivana, as a female name, carries a very deep meaning, it is very ancient, very stable, seen from the public attitude.”
In the Pavliken village of Karaisen, the holiday is celebrated with a custom unique to Bulgaria – people who have a name day, newlyweds, maidens and bachelors are drawn to the fountain to be bathed for health. The ritual is called “Ivanovi vlachugi”.
In the village of Reselets, municipality of Cherven Bryag, on St. John’s Day they recreate the unique ritual “Kapanki”. The healthy custom dates back to ancient times and is preserved only in this settlement.
Name day is celebrated by: Ivan, Ivo, Ioan, John, Ivaylo, Ivanka, Ivana, Iva, Ioana, Yoanna, Ivalina, Yovana, Ivanina, Ivon, Kaloyan, Kaloyana, Iviana, Iviyana, Vanina, Vanyo, Vanessa, Vanensa, Venessa, Vanya, Yovo, Yovko, Yovcho, Yovka, Yovelina, Yolina, Yoto, Yotko, Yonko, Yonka, Zhana, Jeanette, Ivaila, Ivena, Ivet, Iveta, Ivelina, Ivelin, Ina, Inna, Inka, Ivona, Yani, Yanislav, Yanislava, Yanimira, Yane, Yana, Yanka, Yanko, Yaneta, Yanisa, Yanita, Yanin, Yanina, Yanitsa, Yanimir, Yanik, Yanek, Yaniko, Yanika, Yanaki, Yano, Yanyo, Yancho, Yana, Yanak.