Traditions & NameDays

ST. COSMAS AND ST. DAMIAN Feastday (The Holy Healers Day) - July 1

Name day of everyone named Cosma, Kuzman, Damyan, Krassimir, Krassimira, Krassina.

The day of the Christian saints Cosmas and Damian (in BG version: Kozma and Damyan) is considered a very big feastday. No one works on that day to protect themselves from getting sick. That day people pay homage to all popular healers – wise-women, sorceresses and spinning-wheel men. Sacrificial animals are votively slaughtered for health and sick people visit curative springs and leave pieces of their clothes as signs of the nearby "tricking out" for the sickness to remain there forever.

The Christian cult to the two brothrers Healers Cosmas and Damian was especially popular in the eastern parts of the Roman Empire (3rd c.) The earliest icons around Bulgaria are dated 12th c. They are very popular for their abilities to cure people. Their life abounds in miracles connected to healing deaf, blind, wounded people. They are widely known under the name of Holy Healers, and they never took any payment for what they did.

There is another interesting legend connected to an old-times healer - a long ago, when Gods walked among men, a big river flowed in our lands. It divided the field from the mountain and protected men from the evil forces beyond the mountain. On the hill, after the turn of the river, a white-bearded old man and his daughter lived in a small house under a very old tree. He had the gift to talk to birds and animals, to heal people, and knew the secrets of all herbs. That is why he was loved and respected like a god. Every day somebody would step over his threshold and bring presents, fruit or food. All people in these parts were healthy, merry, and they lived happily for many years. But the master of the underground kingdom, who kept the souls of the dead under lock and key, got angry that the old woman Death, sent by him to the Earth, very often returned empty-handed. The old man and his daughter managed to heal the people and they didn’t die so often.
The king sent messengers who brought handsome presents to the old man so that he would stop healing people. “Or you will be in real trouble!”, the messengers warned him. But the old man didn’t obey; he sent back the lavish royal presents and firmly declared his vow to help people. The master of the underground kingdom was furious and sent an evil sorceress to punish the good healer. Strong winds started blowing, big fires flared up. An awful whirlwind blew by the river and destroyed the house on the hill. In the raging flames the old healer embraced his daughter to protect her from the evil forces. But the sorceress turned him into a snake, and his daughter into a wonderful cup. Father and daughter, in an embrace, were turned into stone forever. They stand like this to this very day, turned by God into a symbol of the eternal power of medicine.