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Dog Days

The Orthodox Church commemorates on July 15, 16, and 17 the Saint Martyrs Kirik and Julita, Atinogen and Marina. They are considered to be the hottest summer days in Bulgaria and are known as Goreshtnitsi or the Dog Days. They are related to a number of bans for work on the field and at home. During the three days called Goreshtnitsi, no one comes out in the field to work, or harvests, or thrashes, or mows, or washes, or bakes bread, or cooks, or sews because old beliefs warn that fire will come down from the sky to set the sheaves ablaze. Legend has it that whoever pays no respect to these fiery holidays will end up with his house destroyed by fire. The people also predict the weather for the coming - if hot and sunny in the three days, then the winter days in January and March will be warm, with no snowstorms and blizzards. According to the legend if a man washes in hot mineral springs during the Dog Days he will be healthy in the year to come. In by-gone times, on the third day of the Goreshtnitsi, called St. Marina of Fire, households should renew the fire in the hearth. The fire in the fireplace is put out and a new one is made in a ritual way – by rubbing two sticks against each other. Housewives take some of the new fire, also called “living fire”, to their home. This ritual is said to symbolize the renewal of life, a fresh new cycle of life.