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CHRISTMAS DAY - December 25

CHRISTMAS DAY - December 25

12/25/2023 8:00:00 AM

Name day for: Hristo, Hristina, Christina, Kolio, Bojin, Radostin, Radomir, Mladen.

Ritual dinner: brawn, roasted pork, freshly baked bread, meat pastry, milk pastry, roasted liver, dried meat with cheese, roasted chicken.

Christmas or Big Christmas is one of the richest from ritual point of view holidays, known in Bulgaria since pagan days. Even though Ignazhden is considered the beginning of the Christmas holidays Christmas is the most important of all and it coincides with the period of the winter solstice. The relation of the holiday to that turning point in nature determines the opulence of the festive ritualism and its place in the national calendar. Usually the festive complex that marks the beginning of the new solar year is abundant in divination and predictions about the future, magic rituals, protecting rites that provide fertility and family welfare.

Christmas is a peculiar continuation of Christmas Eve, because it starts at midnight with the “Koleduvane” custom. Participants in this ritual are only men – bachelors, fiancés and young just married men. They all carry a common name, which takes different forms in the different regions of the country – koledari, koladnitsi, koledare, etc. On Ignazhden they choose a leader and group in parties of 10 to 15 people. There are also young boys in each party that walk in front of the Koledari and inform the hosts of the houses for their coming.

The Koledari wear traditional festive costumes with specially decorated caps. They walk around the town from midnight till morning. On their way they stop in front of the house doors and sing special ritual songs, utter prayers that vary in accordance with the different hosts and houses they visit. In general the songs and prayers have the sense of a ritual blessing for family happiness and rich yield on the farm. The first song usually starts with the words:

Welcome us!































We sing for you dear hosts!































We are kind guests visiting,































Kind guests, Koledari!

After the songs, the leader of the party who holds in his hands the gifts from the hosts utters a Christmas blessing: “Health from God, Merriment from us!” .

The Koledari are gifted money, meat, bacon, beans, flour, wine, etc. The Koleduvane custom ends up with a festive treat. The provisions that remain are sold and the money are given to the poor or to the church, the school, the reading club. The Koleduvane custom in western Bulgaria and the villages in the Sofia region is quite different. The party of men includes an “old man” dressed in a fur coat turned inside out, decorated with small bells and a stick in his hand, who utters blessings, also an “old woman” dressed like a bride, a “donkey” that carries the presents, a bagpipe player and a singer, one of which is called “chetnik” and says a prayer. There are no special rites that characterize Christmas. Only the festive folklore dance is of ritual nature.

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