Nativity of John the Baptist
Festival set to recall the events associated with the birth of John the Baptist, which are described in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:24-25, 57-68, 76, 80).
According to the teachings of Judaism before the coming of the Messiah must appear by his predecessor - the forerunner, who according to the prophecy of Malachi (Fig. 4:5) is the prophet Elijah.
In Christianity the doctrine of forecaster Messiah - Jesus Christ - is concerned with the image of the prophet John the Baptist, who restored and extended service to Eli. How telling of the Gospel, Jesus called himself John "Elijah, he is to come" (Matthew 11:14).
When John the age of thirty years, he began to preach in the Jewish desert, and then in the vicinity of the river Jordan. He strongly denounced the vices of society and called for repentance, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah on fast. His appearance corresponded to descriptions document also makes Eli look: he wore clothing of camel's hair, belted leather belt, and the food he served as locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:10-16).
Sermon John was so strong that soon gathered around him became his disciples, who founded the community of his followers - kumranytiv. External sign of repentance and spiritual renewal John chose baptism - omyttya in the water and dive into it (hence the name - the Baptist).
Come and be baptized Jesus, the Messiah as the virtue of which testified in his homily John (Matthew 3:14-15). Thus John the Baptist paved the way ministry and teachings of Jesus Christ.
The tradition of praise in the days of John the Baptist's birth and martyrdom have evolved in the early Christian communities. In III century the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist has been mentioned widely as eastern and western Christians - it was called "light feast" and "Sun dennytseyu truth." At the beginning of IV century the feast was introduced in the Christian calendar.
In the eastern Slavs and Baltic peoples Nativity of John the Baptist holiday time coincided with the pagan holiday of the summer solstice (slov. swim, Balt. League), so the people he was called Midsummer Day. Many pagan elements still preserved in folk rituals of the holidays: dances, dances, jumping through fire (ancient cleansing ritual), sliding down into the river of flaming wheels, throwing wreaths and more.
This is the greatest of all ST. John the Baptist. As the feast of its conception, and this feast was already known in the 4 th century. Instructions for this feast is found in St. John Chrysostom, Saint. And St. Ambrose. Augustine. The latter in his sermon that day said: "Today we celebrate Christmas Day St. John. This honor, which, in our opinion, has no saint. The whole Christian world is fixed and pochytanyy only Christmas Day and Lord St. John. Saint Augustine does not mention here on the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, because at that time this feast was not yet. On the feast of the Nativity of St. West. John the Baptist is the oldest calendar in the African Church of 5 centuries.
In that time we celebrate Christmas, John the Baptist, our people in pre-Christian times Midsummer festival circuit. On Midsummer holiday in Ukraine prof. Kylymnyk S. says: "The highest, nayvybuyalishe festival, which ends the annual cycle of summer solar calendar pre-Christian holidays - a festival for young people - boys and girls - swim or Kupaylo that with time after the adoption of Christianity, church z'yednalosya the holiday - the birth of John the Baptist . That's why this holiday is a dual name - "Midsummer ... Kupalska rites and songs are as Haivka and carols, to ancient times, the original poetry and rituals to honor zhyttyepodatelya - the sun. " (Year in Ukrainian folk customs, Volume IV, art. 99).
Nativity of John the Baptist (the prophet John the Baptist Day), celebrated the Orthodox and Greek Catholics, July 7, and Catholics - 24 June.