Traditions & NameDays

MRATINYAK - November 11 or 14

Name day of everyone named Mincho, Minka, Filip, Philip.

That feastday is celebrated as a blood offering to appease the Mratinyak – according to the traditional beliefs, an evil black spirit, all in feathers, with huge green eyes, killing hens and roosters in the household. In the patriarchal Bulgarian family a woman should never kill an animal. But especially on this day, the eldest woman in the house takes the knife, holds the rooster (preferably black in color) and, assisted by another woman, votively kills it over the threshold in such a way that rooster’s head is supposed to fall inside. She should pronounce the words “We are not killing you, Mratinyak is killing you.” Then the woman ties the head and the legs with a red thread and hangs them by the fireplace. She has put a live coal nn the rooster’s bill. That way the house will be protected from evil eyes, ghosts and spirits.

Rooster’s gizzard is hidden by the chimney and used to treat children wetting their beds. They take some of the half-digested food, put it in "silent" water and give the sick child to take three sips of it. Rooster’s gall has a healing effect. It is used to heal all kinds of diseases as well as to break evil magic. According to old people from the town of Yambol, rooster’s feathers also have a healing effect. They are used against dizziness, fainting and nose-bleeding.