Traditions & NameDays

THE WEEK AFTER EASTER ( “The Week of St. Thomas”) - no fixed date

The Sunday of that week - name day of Toma (the BG version of Thomas).

The Wednesday of the New Week after Easter, two rituals are performed, which according to the folklore traditions are directed towards the prayer for rain, fertility, protection against hail, evil powers or bad diseases. In western parts of the country a ritual circle dancing is danced, called Ladino Horo. Young unmarried men and women, as well as elderly men and women, gather at the village horo circle. The young women form a large circle and dance, while two of them (one inside, and the other ourside the circle) are waving kerchiefs over the horo circle. They cut the circle three times and thus form three branches of the former circle, which eventually get together back again.

The name “The Week of St. Thomas” derives from the name of its Sunday, when, according to the Christian calendar, the risen Christ appeared to his disciples. The Unbelieving Thomas “placed a finger” in Jesus’s wounds to make sure that Jesus had risen from the dead indeed.

St. Thomas, called Didymus, one of the twelve disciples is believed to be the twin brother of Matthew. He was first called Jude - the son of James and grandson of Alpheus. Some texts have stated that Thomas is the twin of James not Matthew, so little is truly known about Thomas. Didymus in the Greek means twin. Thomas was given the nickname “doubting Thomas” because he was continually looking at the worst in all things. No matter what it was Thomas was able to find something wrong. After the death of Lazarus Jesus said He was going to Bethany. Since Bethany was so very close to Jerusalem it was thought that the religious leaders might find Him and kill Him.

Thomas of course is most often remembered for his doubting and for having been missing from the Upper Room the time Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection. Thomas had difficultly in believing that Jesus had actually risen from the dead. When the others told Thomas about Jesus appearing to them, he expressed his misbelief.

Although Thomas was truly a doubter once he was given the fact and shown what it was he asked about his loyalty and dedication was unsurpassed by any. Once Thomas believed in something you could not persuade him differently. Thomas felt they would all die by following Jesus to Bethany but he insisted they all go to stand by the side of the one they loved and followed.

It is believed that Thomas preached in Persia, Parthia and also in India. Thomas was the one that helped build a palace in India and credited with the founding of Christianity in that country. Thomas is believed to be buried at Edessa and to have been killed with a spear in the 4th Century. The spear and a builder’s square are the symbols of Thomas.