Bulgarians Celebrate Christmas Eve
On December 24 we celebrate one of the greatest Christian holidays - Christmas Eve.
According to the biblical tradition, on Christmas Eve, Virgin Mary goes into labor and is the beginning of Christ's birth.
The family gathers in anticipation of the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
The Christmas Eve celebration is dedicated to the home, the hearth, but also the deceased ancestors - relatives who are also considered part of the family.
The Christian holiday, which preceded the birth of Christ, is called by Bulgarians "Little Christmas", "Dry Christmas", "Little Christmas" or, less often, "Mali Bozic" and "Krachun".
On the Christmas Eve table is an odd number of dishes - 7, 9 or 11. The dinner table includes ritual bread called "Bogovitsa" or "Evening".
It is knead with "silent water" from young single girl or a young bride, and the flour is sieved three times. From the dough on the bread are formed images of the levels and of the domestic animals.
Dinner begins with censing of the table, the rooms, the stables, and the garden, in order to banish the evil spirits. After reading the prayer, the owner breaks the bread with a coin inside and the first piece of it is left before the icon for God, the second is for the house, and the rest is distributed to each member of the family.
It is believed that who gets the piece of the bread with coin will have the best luck during the year. The custom requires that during the meal no one gets up. The table is not cleared throughout the night because it is believed that the deceased come to dinner and take care of the well-being of the living.
Under the table the farmer puts wheat straw, which is associated with the wheat straw in the crib of the newborn Christ. This straw is not thrown away. It is placed in the gardens or beneath the fruit trees to give birth to more. Do not throw away the ash from the hearth. Normally, the hosts spray it in the fields and the vineyards - for fertility. They also put it in the seed for sowing. It is believed that this ash treats illnesses.
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