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 What do Bulgarians do at Christmas

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Blink
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PostSubject: What do Bulgarians do at Christmas   Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:10 pm

I'd like to ask if the Bulgarians do anything special at Christmas in the villages how do they celebrate it and do they have a village party? or maybe a village killing of a pig.
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starlite
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PostSubject: Re: What do Bulgarians do at Christmas   Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:33 pm

oh dear, the memories. we came here dec 3rd, our bulgarian neighbours in their 70s, spoke no english. he said otreh, ( 25 dec ) came to collect us, had a seven course meal of indescribable food and rakia , rest of family arrived and we went through the same seven course meal and rakia. lovely lovely people, who are so warm and welcoming, never saw my partner for the remainder of the day, rakia too much. very family orientated, family are important at this time, not commercial in any way, the simplest way of life i have any known. but the richest i have seen. the pig killing was dec 30th which we declined, i couldnt just couldnt, yuk.
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BGTRAVELLER
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PostSubject: Re: What do Bulgarians do at Christmas   Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:18 pm

Just how it was in the uk many many years ago well put starlite
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mike&tanya
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PostSubject: Re: What do Bulgarians do at Christmas   Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:00 pm

I was in the village (Kliment) in 2008 for Christmas, the pig was killed on Christmas day, and i had planned to not get involved, in fact the plan was to have my
I-pod on very load and go for a walk when the deed was done. BUT unfortunatly they were a man short for holding the pig so against my better nature , I had to get involved, but was so wimpish about it that Tanya had to help as well. After the dirty deed was done i was in charge of the hot rakia with sugar in it, which have to say was very nice, and whilst her dad and the neighbors cut the meat up, I walked around with the rakia which everyone took plenty off, also eating the various small bits of meat that were being cooked on an open fire, whilst the bigger bits were being cooked inside. Our best friends came in the afternoon (as we were going skiing in Bansko for the new year) and we all got into the Traditional eating and drinking. Tanya had kept a surprise back from me, as Tanya,s mum used to make a lot of the traditional costumes for everyone in the village, they had arranged to dress me up in some of them, I have to say i did not look to bad in them. Also in the afternoon we had a visit from a group of young villagers that were dressed up in traditional costumes going from door to door singing. The other tradition is to share the pork meat with all of the neighbors, which of course they all also do , so there is a lot of passing around of the pork meat to neighbors and friends. Again i will try to put some pictures in the gallery when i have the chance.

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scott
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PostSubject: Re: What do Bulgarians do at Christmas   Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:01 pm

I love reading stuff like this it really helps me get a good picture of life in Bg
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PostSubject: Re: What do Bulgarians do at Christmas   Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:30 pm

BULGARIAN CHRISTMAS

In Bulgaria there is a common belief that the whole next year is correlated with Christmas Eve; the forthcoming year will be as good as this special evening. Therefore the whole family becomes involved in performing the rituals.

For Orthodox Christians, Christmas comes after 40 days and nights of fasting. The forty-day Advent, started on November 15, finishes on this day. Folk beliefs hold it that the Mother of Jesus began her labors on St. Ignatius’ Day and gave birth to God’s son on Christmas Eve, but that she told of it only on the next day. Throughout the fasting period, Orthodox Bulgarians will avoid alcohol and animal products. Even the festive dinner on the eve of Christmas is vegetarian and includes no meat, cheese, milk, eggs or animal oils.

Bulgaria's Orthodox Church recommends 13 different foods on the Christmas-eve meal (salt, pepper and sugar are seen as separate foods). The foods are vegetable and odd in number for luck. Beans are a traditional Christmas Eve dish in Bulgaria, as families gather that evening to a meatless holiday meal.

This is the most important family event of the year. There are always walnuts on the table. Traditionally, wheat is boiled and dishes such as boiled haricot, leaves stuffed with rice or grouts, and stewed dried fruit are cooked. Wheat grains and the Ignazhden (Saint Ignatius’ Day) kolaks (ring-shaped cake) are also put on the table. After the festive mass starting at 12:00 am on December 25, all should drink a sip of wine so that the divine blessing should come upon them as fasting ends. A place at the table is left vacant for the deceased (relatives or other dear people). The table is not cleared for the night because people believe that the deceased will come to dinner. The return to meat and dairy comes on Christmas day, with, one should hope, a cleansed mind and spirit for the coming year.

At the Christmas Eve table, fortunes are told. To predict what the year is going to be, everyone cracks a walnut. If it is good and delicious, the year is going to be lucky, if the walnut is empty, you can expect a bad year. Predictions are also made for the weather in each month of the New Year, the expected crops, each family member's health, and for the coming marriages of the girls. Christmas Eve requires much time and efforts from each family member. The women-folk arise very early in the morning and are busily preparing the festive meals during the whole day. They spare no pain to be ready with everything and to be able to follow the traditions when Christmas Eve comes. It is believed that the way Christmas Eve goes is the way life during the following year will go. No work is done in the fields; everyone's efforts are home-centered. Certainly, a festival as important as Christmas Eve deserves to be celebrated in the proper manner.

At midnight on Christmas, the koledari (carollers) start their round. Only boys participate as major figures in the ritual known as Koleduvane. Its purpose is to wish health, good luck and fertility to the heads of households, to their houses, livestock, land, etc. The koledari, as those participating in the ritual are called, are divided into two age groups. Each group may consist of 10 or more koledari who divide the homes of their village or neighborhood among themselves to be sure each will be blessed. The preparations include learning of songs and dances, and decorating costumes, which include the kalpaci (fur hats) ornamented with bouquets of boxwood and wild geranium, carved wooden staffs, yamurluci (hooded cloaks) which are made to size, sandals, and new fancy leggings. The magnificent embroidery on the white shirts is especially beautiful.

The koledari songs are characteristically lively, happy and festive, and are performed antiphonally. The group divides into two subgroups, then one group begins, and the second group repeats what the first group has just sung. The songs can be divided into several themes: those which are sung on the road from one house to another, those which are sung while entering or leaving a house, those devoted to the head of the house, those for the women, those for small children, those for unmarried girls, those for soldiers, those for the livestock, those for the fertility of the fields, and so on. At the end of the performance, the head of the household gives stedro (from his heart) - so called Koledni gevreci (round buns), banitsa (a multi-layered pastry filled with bulgarian cheese (sirene), fruits, walnuts, popcorn and other traditional delicacies.

Today, Christmas is still a very special family holiday in modern Bulgaria. In the cities, the koledari tradition is not followed as strictly as in the villages. However, city dwellers should not be surprised if kids (survakarcheta) knock on the door after midnight on Christmas to sing a song, wishing happiness, love, health and wealth during the coming year.

December 26 is celebrated as the second day of Christmas in Bulgaria. It is officially a non-working day. It is a day to pay tribute to Jesus' mother Virgin Mary. Bulgarians believe that Virgin Mary will bring their prayers to Jesus, as she is His closest person.
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