Bulgarians Celebrate St. Stephen Day
The church honors St. Stephen, considered one of the first martyrs of the Christian faith and one of the seven disciples of Jesus Christ chosen after his resurrection.
His life tells that worried about the growing number of believers, the Jews slandered the saint for blaspheming God and thus condemned him. In Josaphat Valley, an angry mob stoned him to death. Despite the terrible deed, shortly before he surrendered his spirit to God, St. Stephen prayed "Lord, do not honor this sin" - says the legend of the saint.
In the 5th century, some of his relics were discovered through a vision received by a priest and placed in the Temple of Zion in Jerusalem. It is believed that the day of the saint is the last Christian holiday, and our ancestors believed that this day closes the circle of the old year.
Traditionally, the young family goes to visit the godparents or parents, and meat dishes are eaten at the table. Traditionally, pork is prepared with sauerkraut or meat pie. From St. Stephen's Day to Jordan's Day, the customs typical of Dirty Days are observed - women should not sweep, wash their hair, wash, do not have weddings, baptisms, services.
In places in Central and Northern Bulgaria, instead of December 31, it was on St. Stephen's Day that the custom of charging was observed. All bridesmaids make wrists and attach a ring or other personal object to them, then dip it in a jar full of silent water, which is covered with a red veil. The next day, a girl dressed as a bride pulls out her wrists one by one, and while the others sing incantations, she foretells who will marry which boy.
The name Stefan means wreath. Everyone has a name day with names: Stefan, Stephen, Stefka, Stefi, Stefko, Stefanka, Stefania, Fani, Teki, Vencho, Ventsislav, Ventsislava, Stamen, Stan, Stamena, Stancho, Stanimira, Stanislava, Stane, Tsako, Tsanko, Tsano, Tsancho , Tsanka, Stoyu, Stoyan, Stoyana, Stoichko, Stoycho, Stoimen.
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