Chistmas Eve in Bulgaria

Monday 28 March 2011
by Nelly Vicheva
popularity : 1%

The newly married woman in the family had to get the whole dinner ready. She had to get up early, before daybreak. The preparation of the dishes (all vegetarian) took almost a whole day. The woman used to begin with preparing the ritual round loaf of bread, being decorated with different elements made of dough symbolizing all the living creatures in that house. So each one could get to know something about himself. The traditional leek pastry was prepared with cornel buds as fortunes indicating health, wealth and fertility. It was known in advance what each one of the fortunes was intended for. A white beans meal with many seasonings, sauerkraut leaves and peppers stuffed with rice were prepared too, all cooked with oil as people fasted until Christmas Day. The custom required the preparation of stewed dried fruits. Some juice of them was mixed with a little ground garlic. Everyone in the family tasted a teaspoon of it with the wish for good health throughout the year coming.

The other members of the family had to clean the house thoroughly, the yard and all buildings used by them. After all was put in order and ready, everyone prepared himself for the Christmas Eve itself putting on their new clothes, while the young people trimmed the Christmas tree. The eldest one in the family brought some straw into the house and on the tablecloth, there were placed the dishes, this symbolizing the Nativity. The oldest man in the family censed the house and after that he and all the family read the ’Our Lord’s’ Prayer. They also drank the so-called warmed plum or grape brandy to which some caramelized sugar had been added. The luckiest person was the one who found the coin put into the loaf of bread, because it was luck bringing. After supper was over the enjoyed the festive night dedicated to Nativity.

Nevertheless that the years passed have changed these customs a little, that which remained is regarded by the people and still fills their hearts with festive joy and mood on Christmas Eve. Viara Gicheva

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