Hey, guys! How are you?
So, today we’re talking about the upcoming Easter. For some, the catholics, Easter was on April 1st. For others, the people belonging to the Orthodox church, Easter is this Sunday. Being part of Eastern Europe, Bulgaria belongs to the Orthodox church. And even a little bit belated, happy Easter to all the people who already celebrated it! Hope you had fun times with your family and friends.
As you know Easter is a family holiday and we get to dye eggs. In the Western countries, people hide the eggs and the little children have to search for them. I really like this tradition, I think it’s pretty fun. However, here in Bulgaria we don’t have this. We have some other traditions, equally interesting, fun and awesome. Some of the traditions we do have are like the ones in the other countries. For example, the making of the Easter bread.
One holiday we have is Lazarus Day, the day of St. Lazarus. It’s celebrated the day before Palm Sunday and it’s a holiday which is celebrated in honor of the fields, pastures and forests. On this day groups of young girls pick flowers for flower crowns for Palm Sunday. They wear traditional bulgarian clothes. Since this holiday is very old, in the past, the tradition was the girls to wander around the village from house to house and to sing folklore songs with blessings for health, wealth and fertility. The songs were sang for every single one of the members of the family. As a reward the housekeepers give them eggs, money, flowers and other gifts. In the past, this holiday was strongly anticipated from everyone in the villages and the cities. Truth is that there are still some villges in Bulgaria that have kept this tradition and this holiday is celebrated the way it was celebrated before. It’s very fun and beautiful to be watched because of all the flowers and the songs that bring lovely Spring vibes.
Also, we celebrate Palm Sunday (in bulgarian Tsvetnica (Ts-vet-ni-ca)) also as a name day. On this day celebrate the people with names of flowers like Lilly. We celebrate it one week before Easter. On the morning of the event people carry with them flowers and willow branches and crowns. They go to the church for a liturgy and there the priest sancities them. After this ritual, the people carry the willow crowns with them into their homes and put them under the main icon in their home. It is believed that the willow has healing and miracolous powers.
In the past, these willow branches and crowns were carried from women and girls during the summer harvest. They were carried against headache, back pains and others.
On this holiday is the last Lazarus Day custom. The girls who participated in the singing the previous day, gather in groups and go to the river. They carry their flower or willow crowns with them. When they get to the river, they throw their crowns in it and whichever crown is faster and and gets infront of the others, wins. The purpose here is to be chosen one girl that will be like a “godmother” of the other girls. Her role is to help them, and in the past, she helped the others to find someone to whom they will get married.
Both of these holidays are very old. They exist since the time Bulgaria was under the Ottoman rule, and some say even before that. Even though today they are celebrated and the customs are pretty much the same as they used to be, some of them have changed during the time. Some of them even have died. However, it’s good that people still celebrate them in some form because in this way they continue to exist through time.
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So, this was for today. Hope you liked this post and the whole series about Bulgaria, too. Thank you for reading my blog, hope you like my content so far. Have a great day!