Bulgaria Honors St Athanasius Half Past Winter
Saint Athanasius. File photo
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates on January 18 the Day of Saint Athanasius (Atanasovden), who is the ruler of snow and ice.
The holiday is said to mark the middle of winter.
According to traditional Bulgarian beliefs, once the Day of Saint Athanasius is over, the spring is near.
Atanasovden, like St. Antony's Day, is a holiday of the blacksmiths, ironmongers, cutters and shoeing smiths, as well as a holiday to show respect to those who are ill.
Therefore, early in the morning women would bake a small flat loaf of bread, decorated with two dogs, who keep the diseases away from people.
Those who bear the name of the saint (Atanas) also celebrate on January 18.
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