This year, Forgiveness Sunday falls on March 6th. Today, the Orthodox ask each other for forgiveness in order to enter Great Lent with a pure soul and conscience, as well as to celebrate Easter, the day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, with a pure heart.
Forgiveness Sunday is celebrated on the last day of Maslenitsa, on the eve of Great Lent – this period is called Cheese Week. Like some other church holidays, Forgiveness Sunday falls on different dates every year.
This is a special day for all believers. After the morning liturgy, the priests change their vestments – from white to black. The evening service is performed in the dark, after which the believers approach the priest, and then to each other with the words: “Forgive me!”, Receiving in response: “God will forgive, and forgive me!”.
Throughout this Sunday, believers ask for forgiveness from relatives and friends. It is better to do it orally, the priests advise, so that the request is as sincere as possible and heard.
In the first centuries of Christianity, there was no such tradition – reconciliation before the start of Lent. It appeared in the 4th-5th centuries from the monks in Palestine, who went into the desert for the duration of many days of fasting. There they spent time alone, praying and meditating on God. Only on Sundays did they gather together for the liturgy, and even then not everyone came to it, because the desert is full of dangers. Realizing that this meeting may be the last for some, the monks before a possible separation asked for forgiveness from each other. Later, the tradition took root in other temples. And now it is often honored even by people far from religion.
Forgiveness Sunday should be spent well – according to tradition, it is customary to gather at the festive table, where pancakes are an obligatory dish. A bad omen on this day is foul language, as well as a refusal to forgive someone: according to ancient beliefs, all sorts of misfortunes and troubles await such a person this year. On this day, you should not think about the bad, enter into conflicts, get annoyed, complain, quarrel. You can not do hard work and drink alcohol, do needlework.
Forgiveness is the first step on the path to spiritual cleansing. This is especially important in such a difficult period as now. The Gospel of Matthew says:
“For if you forgive people their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive people their trespasses, then your Father will not forgive you your trespasses.”
Tomorrow is the longest post of the year. On its eve, Christians free the soul from negativity in order to enter it with a good heart, pure and sincere thoughts, forgiving and reconciling with all their neighbors. They do this with the help of repentance, ask for forgiveness for the offenses caused and forgive. On this day, it is not customary to refuse to help those who ask and those in need.
On this special day of peace, kindness and love, according to tradition, the strong ask for forgiveness from the weak, the rich from the poor, the healthy from the sick, and they all complete the ceremony with hugs and kisses. Forgiveness must also be asked from deceased relatives.