August 2 – Ilya's day, Ilya the prophet: history, traditions and signs of the holiday

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August 2, 2022, 06:04 | Culture

A good day to receive guests or visit, set the festive table.

 August 2 – Elijah's day, Elijah the prophet: history, traditions and signs of the holiday

Ilya Fesvityanin is one of the most important prophetic personalities of the Old Testament in the history of Christianity. He enjoys special respect among Eastern Slavs, informs Ukr.Media.

The story of the life of a biblical soothsayer

The great prophet Elijah was born in Gilead Thesvia 900 years before the birth of Christ. The name Fesvityanin in the synodal translation literally means “God is my Lord''. — “Elijah”. When the boy was born, his father had a vision of pious men talking to the baby, swaddling him and dousing him with fire. From an early age, Sovak raised his son in humility and submission, nurtured in him love for the Almighty. As a young man, he settled in the desert, where he observed a strict fast and prayed every day.

Ilya was considered a denouncer of pagans and a champion of the purity of the Christian faith. One day he exposed Ahab, the local ruler, in idolatry. His wife Jezebel wanted to establish the cult of Astarte and Baal (pagan gods) throughout the kingdom of Israel. The Lord appeared to the soothsayer and sent him to Ahava with a message: if he does not renounce false ideals, then his kingdom will suffer famine. Lord Ilya did not believe it, but the next day the townspeople were struck by drought and hunger. The seer himself hid in the desert, the crows brought him sustenance.

After three and a half years, the man returned to Israel and informed the people that these troubles were caused by the Heavenly Father for disobedience and rejection of the true God. As a proof, he offered to conduct an experiment – to give a sacrifice to Baal and the Lord; whoever appears for the tribute is the true creator. Ahab ordered firewood to be brought and a large bull slaughtered, and then he asked Baal to send down fire from heaven. Nothing happened at the king's request. Then Ilya began to make another altar. He threw firewood and poured water over them, and then turned to the heavens. Immediately, fire gushed from above, igniting his raw logs. When those present saw the miracle, they immediately turned to faith, glorifying God.

For zealous love and humility, the saint was taken to the kingdom of heaven on a chariot of fire, alive and unharmed. Since then, the prophet Elijah has been prayed to during a drought, asking for rain.

The tradition of celebrating the national day

On Ilya's Day, all Orthodox churches hold a prayer and liturgy in honor of the holy seer. After the morning services, they begin to prepare for the evening banquet. Housewives are accepted for the preparation, so that before the arrival of the guests, stewed meat, homemade bread and cakes, pickles from the cellars are put on the table. Not only family and loved ones are treated to festive food, but also neighbors, friends, and passing travelers. Leftover food is given to the needy and poor, as Ilya's day is a time of showing mercy and compassion. After dinner, noisy festivities begin. The participants of the celebration loudly sing songs, songs, lead dances around the bonfire, conduct traditional games.

Many things were forbidden on this holiday. For example, one could not work in the field or work around the house, so as not to incur the wrath of the saint. They did not bathe on the day of the celebration and the following days. There is a saying that when the chariot of fire was taking Elijah to heaven, the horseshoe fell off the horse and fell into the river, catching a cold. Since then, anyone who takes a bath runs the risk of catching a cold.

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