Christmas Celebrated in Bulgaria

Politics | December 25, 2002, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

Christmas (Koleda in Bulgarian) is one of the biggest church holidays as the Christian world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is celebrated as official holiday in Bulgaria with a decision of the Parliament from March 28, 1990. Bulgarian orthodox Christians constitute 82.6% of the country's population. They celebrate Christmas on December 25 together with most Christians but unlike the orthodox believers in Jerusalem, Russia, Georgia and Serbia. The reason for this difference is not a row or a schism as it is largely misunderstood, representatives of the Holy Synod in Bulgaria told novinite.com. Only four of all nineteen local orthodox churches - namely those in Jerusalem, Russia, Georgia and Serbia, use the old Julian calendar that fixes Christmas on January 7. Bulgaria's Orthodox Church turned to the reformed Julian calendar on December 20, 1968. Since then, Bulgaria has celebrated Christmas for three days starting on December 25 as the most of the Christian world. However, "orthodox" Easter rarely coincides with catholic and protestant celebrations. Priests master a special "science" taught in orthodox academies so that they can calculate the Easter date that is different every year and is honored by all nineteen orthodox churches.

Nativity is a continuation of Christmas Eve because it begins at midnight with the "koleduvane" custom. Bulgarian tradition has it boys and unmarried young men, called koledari, to visit the houses, singing songs for wealth and health for the hosts. They were rewarded with money and food. The "koleduvane" custom ends with a feast. There should be pork, round loaf, banitsa with meat and other meat dishes on the table. Today, Christmas is still a very special family holiday in Bulgaria. In the cities, the tradition is not followed as strictly as in the villages. However don't be surprised if kids (survakarcheta) knock on the door of your apartment after midnight on Christmas to sing a song, wishing you happiness, love, health and wealth during the coming year.

Merry Christmas!!!
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