Orthodox Georgians are today celebrating Saint Barbara’s Day – the great Martyr who was tortured by her own father after she converted to Christianity.
Many Georgian orthodox believers celebrate the day but traditions are varied and comprise of superstitious and pagan rituals, despite Georgia being one of the oldest Christian counties in the world. The day is commonly known as Barbaroba.
Saint Barbara is a well-loved saint in Georgia, and many churches are named after her; there are four in Tbilisi alone. Most female saints venerated in Georgia were Georgian, or engaged in their mission in Georgia, but Saint Barbara of Heliopolis is an exception to the rule. Today is her feast day, Barbaroba
There are many folk customs associated with Saint Barbara’s Day in Georgia; today is associated with matters of fate, and how one interacts with others on this day is said to determine the course of the following year. It is known as “The Day of Destiny”. So Georgians will be especially cheerful and patient today, in the hope of bestowing a peaceful and harmonious year ahead upon themselves and others.
A great deal of importance is attached to the identity of the first person to cross the threshold of one’s house on Saint Barbara’s Day; if that person is a kind and devout person, it will bring good luck upon the whole household for the year.
Born in the Greek city of Heliopolis in Syria, she was the daughter of a wealthy pagan widower. Her story is tragic as her chief persecutor and ultimately her executioner was her own father; before he became aware of his daughter’s Christian faith, he had been a devoted and caring parent.