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STEFANOVDEN (St. Stephen or Stefan’s Day) - December 27


Name day of Stefan, Stefanka (Stephen's name means "crown”), Stoil, Stoyo, Stoyka, Stoycho, Stoimen, Stoichko, Stoyan, Stoyanka, Stanka, Tanya, Tanyo, Tsonko/a, Tsanko/a, Stanimir/a, Stamen, Zapryan/a; Ventsislav/a (also Dec. 30th).

The third day of Christmas is Stefanovden (St. Stefan’s Day). The ones who have a nameday are given gifts and bathed, people sing songs and play the horo dance. They dance for the last time in the square the “Christmas buenek”.

Folk legends say that if you borrow salt on Christmas and don’t return it, you will have trouble with your eyes. If your ear aches on Christmas this is an indication that an angel has passed by you. And you have to make the sign of the cross three times and whatever you think of will come true.

Children must not play with fire on Christmas for they will wet their bed the whole year. You must not count the stars that night otherwise your hands will be covered with warts. After the long Christmas fasting people eat some of the Christmas offering – the pig – after church.

St.Stephen he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of the widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most famous of these.

God worked many miracles through St. Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that many of his hearers became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to see how successful Stephen's preaching was. At last, they laid a plot for him. They could not answer his wise argument, so they got men to lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God. St. Stephen faced that great assembly of enemies without fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his face looked like the face of an angel.
The saint spoke about Jesus, showing that He is the Savior, God had promised to send. He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

His hearers plugged their ears and refused to listen to another word. They dragged St. Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. The saint prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" Then he fell to his knees and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.