Denho Baptism Feast: today Syriacs celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ
Annually on January 6, the Syriacs celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The baptism of Jesus Christ is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the Christian world on January 6 every year. The Armenians also celebrate Christmas on this day, and the Greeks Theophania.
Denho Baptism Feast
Annually on January 6, the Syriacs celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. They call it ‘Denho’ which here means “appearance” or “manifestation” in Syriac language. The feast of baptism is regarded by Syriacs (Assyrians-Arameans-Chaldeans) as the “appearance” or “manifestation” of the Messiah. In the Syriac belief, Christ appeared and was recognized on the day He came to be baptized. John the Baptist baptized Jesus not only with water, but also with the spirit of God.
Syriacs celebrate the Denho baptism with great interest and enthusiasm. Liturgies are held in churches on the morning of January 6. In the ritual, a substitute ‘shamosho’ (choir pupil) is baptized to represent Christ, accompanied by hymns.
Feast of Surp Dzinunt (Holy Nativity and Appearance)
Armenians celebrate both Christmas and the baptism feast on this day. According to the calendar of the Armenian Church, Christmas begins on January 5 at sunset. On the morning of January 6, it is celebrated with a Christmas service in Armenian churches.
As with the Syriacs, the baptism of Christ is revived by baptizing a person in the Armenian liturgy.
This special day called ‘Theophania’ is celebrated by Greeks with the associated church service rituals.
In the ritual of the finding of the cross, the blessing of the baptism of Jesus Christ in the water is depicted. During this ritual, a clergyman throws a cross into the water. The participants compete to find the cross by jumping into the water. The one who pulls the cross out of the water is rewarded with a blessed cross.
This article was originally published in Turkish by Gazete Sabro on January 6, 2023. The original can be found here.