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KOLEDNI ZAGOVEZNI (Christmas Shrove before Christmas Lent)

After the Great All Souls’ Day and Michaelmas, there comes Christmas Shrove - the last day you can eat meat before Christmas. This is the name of the day before Christmas Fast begins. The most popular dishes at the Shrove table are: hen with sauerkraut, stuffed peppers with beans and much oil. Women make a wound banitsa pastry called “tikvenik” – it is filled with groung pumpkin with sugar and lots of walnuts. After dinner, the woman of the house washes the big wooden spoon used for cooking and serving meat dishes and hides it away for “it is not needed until Christams anymore”. It will not be touched for 45 days, till Christmas, when you “break fast".

For “breaking fast” people start preparing since St. Nicholas’ Day. The man of the house catches several sparrows, the woman puts them in hot water, takes off the feathers and rubs salt on. Then she puts them on a string of hemp and hangs it in a cold place under the roof to dry. For Christmas the sparrows become so dry like dried mackerel. On coming back from church, the mistress of the house breaks the string and gives a piece of the dried birds to all members of the family. She gives the birds’ wings to the girls and the drumsticks to the boys, after which kids can sit at the table and eat of all the meat dishes.