Rental Search

Search by Keyword or Phrase

Personal flight
booking service



Skip Navigation Links Home » Life Magazine » Culture

A Bulgarian Christmas
pic news

Christmas is a huge celebration in Bulgaria and one that is rooted in religious Orthodox beliefs and pagan folklore. During the Communist era, Christmas was not celebrated openly as a religious festival because Communist doctrine barred the following of a religion and celebrations tended to centre around New Year‘s Eve rather than Christ‘s Birthday. After the fall of the Communist regime, Christmas was “reinstated” as a religious festival.

Christmas Eve or “Budni Vecher” as it is known is the most important day of the festive celebrations as it marks the end of the 40 day fast which many Bulgarians still adhere to. Bulgarians celebrate by inviting friends and relatives into their home for a great feast. In some parts of the country only an odd number of dishes is served, traditionally seven or nine, yet in other areas twelve dishes are served with each one representing a month of the year. In accordance with the traditional rules of the 40 day fast, each dish is usually prepared without animal fat or meat; although young Bulgarians tend not to follow such strict fasts opting more for the omission of more practical things like alcohol and cigarettes. Typical dishes include Sarmi, pitka bread, sweet Banitza and peppers stuffed with rice and beans. The house is cleaned from top to toe in preparation for a fresh start into the New Year and incense is burnt to banish bad luck and ill omens. In strict Orthodox homes, the meal is served on a tablecloth placed on the floor, only the family elders are allowed to sit on stools and the rest of the family sit on the ground - the idea being that this teaches people humility. Other people decorate the table with straw to signify the nativity scene.

Bulgarians believe that the mood on Christmas Eve sets the tone for the year ahead. The Banitza cake served in every household contains a charm, which is said to bring great prosperity for the coming year for whoever is lucky enough to find one. Predictions for the New Year are cast in an amusing manner; in some households walnuts, which are placed in a bowl in the centre of the table are cracked to determine the weather for each month of the year ahead, or whether there will be a wedding or a birth or a good harvest. If the walnut is fresh and tasty the prediction will come true, if it is black and gnarled the prognosis will not be good.

Close to midnight everyone leaves the house to attend mass at their local church. What remains of the Christmas Eve feast is left out in the belief that deceased friends and relatives will come and dine when everyone is away or sleeping.

On Christmas Day, animal fat and meat is reintroduced into the diet and another grand fare is produced. This meal consists of pork kevapches, kuftetas and dried sausage. In villages across the country, young men dressed in ornately embroidered shirts, fur hats and leggings call at each house to sing songs and bring good luck. The men are known as the “Koledari” or Christmas Committee. Some of the men carry a stick to bang on each person’s gate and add to the festive din.

Children partake in a tradition known as “Soorovatchka.” They visit friends and neighbours carrying a stick decorated with popcorn, dried peppers and wool. They sing Christmas songs and tap each neighbour on the back to bring them good luck and prosperity. In return they receive fruit, sweets or money from all of those they visit.

Christmas is getting more commercialised in Bulgaria as Western influences come to bear. Christmas trees are decorated at home and in schools, children open advent calendars and of course, Santa can be visited in his grotto in all major cities. Some Kindergartens display a list of the main gift that each child wants to receive for Christmas - a subtle hint to all parents. In schools, children put on plays and recite traditional Bulgarian Christmas poems, yet the essential meaning of Christmas remain here; it is a time for celebrating with those closest to us; our friends and families and for wishing luck and prosperity for the coming year.

bulgarien keywords

bulgarien keywords
Go Back | Post your comment | Print |
bulgarien keywords

bulgarien keywords

bulgarien keywords Your Comments

bulgarien keywords Comments:
bulgarien keywords

bulgarien keywords Post your comment   bulgarien keywords
email * (not showed)
security code *
please enter the security code*

bulgarien keywords



Sitemap | Links
Copyright © 2007 Skandinav Invest OOD. All rights reserved.