Equine celebration - day of St Florus and Laurus
In Russia, for people associated with horses there are their heavenly patrons - holy martyrs Florus and Laurus. The popularly called "equine" celebration take place on August 31. “Prayed to Florus and Laurus, wait for the good for horses” - a Russian saying goes.
The brothers Florus and Laurus lived in the Byzantine Empire in the II century AD and worked as stonecutters. In Illyria, the brothers were sent to build a pagan temple. But when the work was completed, Florus and Laurus along with the other Christians removed the statues of ancient gods from the temple and set up a cross. These actions angered the Roman governor of Illyria who sentenced the brothers to a terrible death punishment. Florus and Laurus were thrown into a pit and stones were piled over them.
The holy brothers were revered in the Balkans as the patrons of livestock and horse breeding, however, that is not explained by any scenes from their life. It was considered that the Archangel Michael taught brothers to communicate with horses. Local residents noticed the fact that sick horses which sometimes came to drink to the well, where the brothers had been buried, would get better gradually and they began to bring all their horses there. And the latter were feeling fine.
In iconography, the brothers Florus and Laurus are depicted with horses which they patronize. In Russia, the image of Florus and Laurus was hung at the stable to the right side, above the manger. On August 31, when they celebrate the equine day, horses never worked, saddled or beaten. Traditionally, on that day, horses were bathed, fed well and sprinkled with holy water.