Trifon ZarezanTrifon Day is a holiday in honour of St.Trifon who is patron of the winegrowers, tavern-keepers and gardeners. The master of the house takes a bag that was prepared early in the morning by the mistress of the house and togather with the other men of the village they go to the vineyards. And than cuts three roots from three different vines and then he pours out some wine over the cut spots and makes a blessing.
Trifon ZarezanThe most popular blessing: "As many drops of wine, that many grapes in the vine". This ritual is called "zarejazvane" (cutting).
Baba martaThird day is considered the first day of the spring and is celebrated with a great joy. A red cloth is hung on top of the door or under the eaves and stays there until Mladenci. It is believed that the red color will make Baba Marta happy and the weather will be nice. The old women do not go out early because they do not want to make her angry and break the weather.
Baba martaThe martenicas are carried on until the first storks and swallow come. When you have seem a stork you can take you martenica off and put it on a blossomed tree or throw it towards the bird and say: "Take the ugliness of the winter away, bring forth the beauty of the spring!" The martenica can also be put under a rock.
GergiovdenIt is a folk holiday in honor of St. George who is the patron of shepherds and herds. This holiday has a lot of rituals connected to various spheres of Bulgarian life. The typical cattle rituals are interwoven with rituals connected with agriculture, health and wellbeing. In the spring night before the holiday lasses and girls gather flowers and herbs from the fields for the ritual feeding of the sheep and cattle.
The Gergjovden sacrifice:The first born male lamb is chosen for that ritual. They put a flower on it, a candle is put on the right horn and it id lit before the slaughtering. In Southern Bulgaria they slaughter the lamb in the garden under a fertile tree and they leave the blood to get soaked in the ground and in Western Bulgaria the slaughtering is done near a river where the blood runs out into the water. It is believed that the blood has protecting powers. They make a blood cross on the childrens forehead to keep the evil eyes away. The whole Gergjovden lamb is roasted and a green spray is put on it.
VelikdenEaster is celebrated in three successive days. The first one is always a Sunday when everyone goes to the official church service. The candle that is carried throughout the service is should be carried home while it is still burning. Everybody fight with the painted eggs by crash them one against the other. The person whose egg is the strongest will be the healthiest one during the year. On that holiday newly-wedded couples go visit their first witnesses and the parents of the bride. They bring them painted eggs and Easter breads and receive the same things in return.
VelikdenThe second day of the Easter holidays is also called "razturni (messed up) Monday" and is connected with the ritual "flourishing of eggs" which is done as a protection from hails and for fertility. The lads and the lasses go to a meadow and roll red eggs to each other. The greeting "Christ resurrected" is used for 40 days. The week after Easter is called Tomina nedelq (Tomas Sunday).
Sirni zagovezniAccording to the official church canon the period of the Easter fast continues for seven weeks. Bulgarians call the first week of the fast "sirnica", "sirni pokladi" or "proshka" (forgiveness), because the Orthodox religion allows the consumption of buuter, cheese and eggs. The consumption of meat stops the previous week known as Mesni (meat) Zagovezni. The Sirni Sunday is rich with rituals. Before lunchtime the newly marreid go visit their first witnesses and elder relatives - parents, brothers and sisters, friends. They kiss their hand and ask forgiveness from their relatives.
Sirni zagovezni"Forgive me!" - that is what the young peole say when they bend to kiss the hand."May God forgive you, you are forgiven!" - the elder bless. In the evening the whole household gathers around the table, full of fishmeals, cheese and eggs pasrty, milk and of course white khalva. The youngest members of the family are eager for start of the traditional "hamkane" or "lamkane". Very important things in the tradition are the putting on of big bonfires and the jumping over them in which the main participants are the bachelors and the elder boys. During the whole "sirna week" they gather branches and corn leaves which they carry to the high places outside the village. They pile the branches and the leaves around a high pike and they put the head of a rooster that has been slaughtered during the Mesni (meat) Zagovezni on top of the pike.
NestinarstvoThis is a custom that can be seen only in some villages between Strandzha and the Black Sea, around Bourgas. It is observed on the holiday of St.Konstantin and Elena , and sometimes on some of the local village fairs and the church/patron saints days. A basic element of the custom is the dance in fire ( glowing embers). The whole village takes part in the celebration but it is only the fire-dancers that participate in the ritual dance. They are chosen by the saint who is patron of the holiday. The dancers are able to "see" his face, to "hear" his voice and his spirit is transferred in them and on his behalf they can interpret omens , give advices and scorn people.
KukeriOn New Years Eve and Zagovezni in Bulgaria special rituals called Mummers games take place. The Mummers games are performed by men only. They put on special masks hand-made by each of the participants.
KukeriMost of the masks are constructed by wood. Different colored threads are glued on it as well as pieces of multicolored fabrics, mirrors and other shiny elements. The masks representing a ram, a goat or a bull are considered the strangest. Their necessary part of the Mummers games proves the thesis that the origin of the mummers games is connected to the ancient Dionysius games. The impact that the masked mummers make gets even bigger by the sound of the copper and bronze bells that hang on them
Kukeri Some of the masks have two faces. On one of the sides the nose is snub and the face is good-humored and on the other the nose is hooked and the face is ominous. Those masks symbolize the good and the bad which coexist in the world and are inevitable. A very important thing for the symbolic of the masks is the color of the decoration. The red is the most used one - a symbol of the fertility of the reviving nature, of the sun and the fire; the black color embodies the earth and her goddess mother and the white is a symbol of water and light.
KukeriThe mummers games aim to scary and sweep away forever the evil spirits and the weird sisters with the help of the special magic dances and the scary masks, so that the crops for the next year are rich.