Bulgaria Celebrates St. Lazar’s Day
Today, on March 31th the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates the traditional St. Lazar's Day, known here as Lazarovden.
The holiday is celebrated each year on the eight day (last Saturday) before Easter with typical ceremonies called Lazaruvane. The day is a festival devoted to young girls, pastures, fields and woods.
In the past on Lazarovden the young girls could demonstrate to the village community that they had already grown to be maidens. The girls would gather in groups of about ten at the house of the prettiest one, and start from there with their songs to make a round of the village.
The songs sung on St Lazar's Day praise the beauty of the maiden and her lover, the labor of the farmer, the purity of maternal love, and also express wishes for happiness and prosperity.
The Orthodox Church connects that day to the resurrection of Lazarus (brother of Martha and Maria), whom Jesus raised from the dead. Lazarus, who lived for 30 years more, was an ardent follower of Christian faith and died as a bishop of the town of Ketonia (in Cyprus).
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