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BLAGOVESHTENIE (ANNUNCIATION DAY) - March 25


Name day of everyone named Blagovest/?, Blagoy, Blaga, Vangel, Evangelina, Bonka.

Ritual table: fish (baked or boiled), flat cake, onion pastry.
 
The feast is also known under the name of Blagovshtene, Blagovets, Blagoets - in English: ANNUNCIATION, or LADY DAY. In the traditional conceptions this day is associated with the arrival of the migratory birds and with the final springtime awakening of Nature. After Blagoveshtenie, everyone takes care to come out of one's house well-fed and with some money in his/her pocket, so that should a cuckoo sing a song to him, he will be well-fed and have money throughout the year. It is believed that if someone should first see a stork that is not flying but is lying or walking, some ill will befall him. When a maiden or an unmarried young man first sees a cuckoo, she/he ties three times an empty cloth, places it on the roof and three days later makes prophesies about the spouse she or he is to get.

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On this day, acts are performed associated with the folk etymology of the name of the holiday. Vegetables are planted and fruit trees are grafted so that they might be "sweet"; fruit trees that do not bear fruit are "frightened"; lambs and kids are branded, because it is believed that the marking would then give them less pain. Apiculturists open the beehives and let the bees out to collect sweet honey. The ears of small girls are pierced for earrings. It is believed that on Blagoveshtenie even the strongest poison loses its power.

According to beliefs wood nymphs begin their games on this day. Owing to the belief that snakes and lizards wake up on this day and get out of their dens, rituals are performed of a protective and reptile-repulsive power. Before sunrise, women sweep clean the houses, light a fire at one or at three places or in all corners of the courtyard and place cattle manure in the fires tosmoke and drive away the reptiles. Children and grown-ups strike tins and bells and make a round of the courtyard and the house, running. These acts are accompanied by a special incantation: "Run away snakes and lizards, today is Lady Day", or "Run away, snakes, Lady Day will fall on top of you", and the like.

Children and young people jump over the lit fire, whereby the young men slightly singe their feet, so that no snakes might bite them during the summer. With the aim of gaining protection again, women do not sew - "so that snakes may not riddle them"; they do not make bread, "for a snake may roll up in it". In Western Bulgaria, starting from the morning on Lady Day, maidens make rounds of the village singing special songs for Annunciation.

Blagoveshtenie is a major Christian Church holiday, reaffirmed during the 7th century. According to the Holy Script, on that day, nine months before the birth of Jesus Christ, Archangel Gabriel came to the Holy Virgin. He told her that she would become the mother of the Son of God. That sweet news also gave the name of the holiday in Bulgarian - Blagoveshtenie (meaning "Sweet News").