July 20 – Yavdoha-hayogniyka: history, traditions and omens of the holiday


July 20, 2022, 06:01 | Culture

Bad day for a date, proposal of hand and heart, matchmaking – the union may turn out to be unsuccessful.

July 20 – Yavdoha-haynogniyka: history, traditions and omens of the holiday

Some Old Slavic holidays entered the folk calendar straight from the pagan era. They have either not changed at all, or with the baptism of Russia, they have only outwardly absorbed the strict Orthodox ritual, informs Ukr.Media.

One of such holidays is Yavdoha-sinogniyka. The holiday falls on July 20 every year. At this time, the church honors the memory of Saint Euphrosynia (prior to the epitaph of Evdokia) of Moscow.

The day was popularly nicknamed “Sinogniyka” for the high humidity of the air, due to which previously uncut grass quickly rots.

Historical reference

Saint Evdokia was born in the princely family in 1353, in the midst of Russian feudal strife. From early childhood, the girl was an involuntary witness of constant dirty political intrigues, which led to quarrels and power struggles between her father and neighboring princely estates.

Evdokia quickly resisted the struggle for power, and she grew up as an obedient, meek and pious girl.

At the age of 14, she was married for political reasons to Prince Dmitry Donsky, who ruled the Moscow lands at the time. Despite the violent marriage, their marriage became unusually strong and happy: Evdokia surrounded the prince with warmth and care and completely devoted herself to the upbringing of the dozen children they had together.

After the death of her husband in 1389 and the marriage of the youngest daughter, Evdokia began to devote most of her time to spiritual life. She constantly visited the Ascension Women's Monastery, and also oversaw the construction of many different churches and monasteries throughout Russia.

In the first years of the 15th century, the Archangel Michael appeared to the princess in a dream and foretold her fast death This prompted Saint Evdokia to completely renounce worldly life and become a nun under the name of Euphrosynia in her native Ascension monastery.

It is noteworthy that during the journey of the princess from the palace chambers directly to the monastery on foot, the chronicles recorded numerous miracles created by the saint: for example, with her one look, she healed more than three dozen people she happened to meet on the way from various ailments, and one blind man immediately received his sight just by touching the hem of her dress.

Saint Euphrosynia died peacefully in her cell on July 7, 1407.

Folk traditions and rites

It is traditionally customary to spend the day gathering hay for the winter on Yavdokha Haystack. But before starting the harvesting work, the peasants usually consecrated their work tools in the nearest church, and while mowing the first stitch with them, they uttered special slanders.

People believed that without them, the hay would quickly rot even under a dense canopy.


Also, it was customary to feed the first gathered during the day completely to livestock. It was believed that in this way the animals would be protected from diseases and would produce good offspring in the future.

On July 20, bread workers tied a small sheaf of cut grass to their backs and carried it until sunset. It was believed that in this way it was possible to get rid of back pain. It was strictly forbidden to burn hay at this time. According to beliefs, those who violated the ban were expected to suffer quick troubles and illnesses.


  • It rained that day – it will rain for another two months;
  • Any hay that is not covered on Yavdokha will surely rot within a week;
  • Nettles or burdock are blackened in the field begin – autumn will be long and rainy.


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