On December 9 the Orthodox Church celebrates the Conception of the Most Holly Theotokos by Saint Anne who is regarded as patron saint of marriage, family, young girls, widows and motherhood.
St. Anne and her Husband St. Joachim were married for 20 years, but did not have any children. They prayed to God for a child and promised that if He granted their wish, they would dedicate this child to God. One day, an angel came to St. Joachim and said: “Your wife will bear a daughter and you will call her Mary. She will be filled with the Holy Spirit from her mother’s womb.” An angel appeared to St. Anna at the same time and told her the same happy news. Folk beliefs have it that the labor pain of the Mother of God began on this day. That is why, pregnant women do not work on this day, in order to give birth easily.