Bulgarians Celebrate Day of St Nicholas, Sailors Protector

Society | December 6, 2002, Friday // 00:00

All Bulgarians celebrate today the Day of Saint Nicholas, the protector of sailors and fishermen. Folk-Christian myth has it that Saint Nicholas is the master of the entire submarine realm - fish and water demons, as well as of the sea winds. He makes winds rage and cease, walk on water, and whenever there is a ship in trouble, he would save it. More than 170 Bulgarian mariners, sailing on 10 ships and 32 barges of the Bulgarian River Shipping, will celebrate the Day of Saint Nicholas outside Bulgaria.

Saint Nicholas is the patron of not only those who bear his name, he is also a personal or family protector. The table on St. Nicholas' Day is not cleared before the day is over and is open to all guests. The offering during this great winter festival is fish, carp as a rule, because it is considered the Saint's servant. The ribnik - carp wrapped in dough - is reckoned as the traditional dish on this day.

Estimates of the National Association of Fisheries and Aquacultures in Bulgaria indicate it is hard to fix the amount of carp production in Bulgaria due to the large number of unregistered producers. Trout production stands at some 800/900 tonnes per year, but producers face serious difficulties in marketing it. The Black Sea belted bonito on the market this year is replaced by the ocean belted bonito. For the first this year prices of fish and fish products went down several days before the holiday.

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