August 4 – Mary Magdalene Day: history, customs and traditions of the holiday

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August 4, 2022, 06:06 | Culture

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August 4 – Day Mary Magdalene: history, customs and traditions of the holiday

Mary Magdalene, a great follower of Jesus, has long been revered in Orthodoxy as a saint, equal in status to the apostles. She glorified the word of the Lord, followed Christ until the end of his days. The Orthodox Church honors her as a myrrh-bearer (carries myrrh – fragrant oil with which Mary anointed the body of the resurrected Son of God), pure from worldly sins, while traditional Catholic scriptures present the girl as a harlot who repented and accepted a new life. Her memory is commemorated annually on August 4, the day of the holy myrrh-bearer Mary Magdalene, informs Ukr.Media.

Life story of the myrrh-bearer

The Equal-to-the-Apostles virgin was born in the Israeli city of Magdala in the 1st century BC. The inhabitants of Galilee were distinguished by their fiery temper and immediacy – so was Maria. Since her youth, the saint suffered from delirium, a severe illness that affects the mind. Because of her illness, the Almighty appeared to her, she herself found devotion and true faith.

When Jesus cast out seven demons from the suffering woman, Mary left everything worldly and humbly followed the Messiah together with other healed wives. For many days she took care of Christ, humbly serving him. The girl did not leave the Son of God even when he was captured by the Jews, and the faith of many disciples faded away. At the moment of the procession to Mount Calvary after the scourging, Magdalene followed with tears in her eyes, being ultimately present at the crucifixion. Almost all the supporters of the Savior ran away in fear, while she remained near the cross with the Apostle John and the Virgin.

Having served the great prophet during his lifetime, the myrrh-bearer wanted to pay tribute even after his death. She anointed the feet of the Messiah with incense, for which she was honored to be the first to see the miracle of the resurrection. At the request of Jesus, the girl hastened to announce the joyful event, glorifying the Nazarene: "Christ is Risen!". She preached and talked about the event in Jerusalem, in Rome, in the cities of Asia Minor. As the first evangelist of the ascension, the virgin was awarded the rank of equal to the apostles.

It was believed that it was Magdalene who laid the foundations for the customs of celebrating Easter. While in Rome, she met Emperor Tiberius and presented him with a red egg as a symbol of rebirth. No one has yet succeeded in refuting or confirming the version, but for centuries Orthodox Christians have been celebrating the bright holiday with honor according to all canons.

How our ancestors celebrated the national holiday

Any field work on this date was strictly prohibited – it was believed that in case of disobedience, God would punish the workers with hail and a long thunderstorm. At the same time, they went to the forest with pleasure. Women and children went to collect forest and garden berries, from which jams and compotes were later made, and mixtures were dried for the winter. In addition, the housewives took up housework, devoting all their time to the family and improving their lives. On the day of Mary Magdalene, a large cleaning was traditionally started – windows were washed, the grates were taken apart, and cobwebs were swept from the corners. For this, special birch brooms were used, prepared for the Trinity.

It is not advisable to walk barefoot on the morning dew on August 4. It was said that it belonged to Magdalene, the great patroness of all women. In her honor, on the eve of the holiday, prayers were held in churches, prayers were sung in honor of the Saint, asking for healing or deliverance from sinful possession.

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