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KRUSTOVDEN (The Holy Cross Day)

Name day of everyone named Krustina, Krustyo, Krustan, Kancho, Stavri.

According to the popular calendar from the Holy Cross Day on Bulgarians get ready for vintage time. They hoop the casks, the cart (carrying the grapes) and the tub it will be crushed in. Small and big baskets are woven for the grape gatherers. Therefore in some regions the Holy Cross Day is also called Grape-Harvest Day.  The sowing of the winter grain crops may start after that day, the seeds being “sanctified” for sowing. That day marks the “crossing” of the day with the night, i.e. they become equal in lenth. That day requires strict fasting.

The East Orthodox Church celebrates one of its most important and solemn feasts – the Holy Cross Day. The legend of that church feast takes back to the times when the Christians had no possession over the cross on which Jesus Christ had been crucified. In the year 312 A.D., Emperor Constantine I the Great left with his army for Rome to liberate the capital city of the tyranny of Emperor Maxentius.

Constantine’s army was inferior in number and so he asked God for support. In the following night, Constantine saw an inscription up on the sky saying “In hoc Vinces”, which means “This will help you win”.  A grand victory followed, and Constantine became the only Emperor of the Empire.  That prediction truly turned him towards Christianity, and he made the cross its emblem. The Christian religion was finally allowed and persecutions of Christians stopped.  A few years later, in the year 326, his mother, Queen Helena, visited the holy places of Palestine and wished to find the holy cross on which Jesus had been crucified. Following the instructions of an old Jew, after some hard digging, in 326 Queen Helena’s men managed to find the three crosses. Later, in 335, a small church was built on top of the cave of the grave of Jesus, which was officially sanctified on September 14th, 335, and that day has remained to be celebrated ever since as the Holy Cross Day.