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8 Wacky Holiday Traditions Only a Bulgarian Can Understand

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by Dayana Aleksandrova Dec 23, 2015

1. Razpeti Petak

To be honest, I still don’t understand what Christ’s resurrection has to do with nationwide ceramic craft fairs, but I’m a sucker for a nice stomna. This day is the most lucrative display of craftsmanship for all of our local artisans and an excuse to show how diligently Christian we all are.

2. Zadushnitsa

I don’t believe in ghosts but when mom’s bottle of Sauvignon Blanc burst out of thin air on the day she forgot to bring offerings to grandma’s grave, I started reconsidering. Nice move, grandma, always a fan of that white vino. Generally, though, our day of the dead doesn’t go as creepily as this one, and families simply bring offerings to loved ones’ graves as a sign of respect.

3. Bogoyavlenie


A video posted by Michael Gefenider (@mausbest) on

A bunch of half-naked, grunting men fighting in a frozen river over a wooden cross…no, you’re not watching Troy, just our annual Bogoyavlenie. People seem to forget that the original idea behind this odyssey is to honor the birth of Christ.

4. Trifon Zarezan

Move over, Cupid, and someone pass me another glass of vino. My liver loathes the date February 14, but would you be able to resist a day-long, full out bacchanal in the woods? Trifon Zarezan, our official “wine day” is arguably the happiest holiday in the entire year and often other liquors sneak onto the table too, so some might call it our “alcohol worship day” instead.

5. Proshki

So many fiascos have come out of this one, like that time my parents accidentally let it slip that their krustnitsi had separated, while I was home visiting from college…mom and dad had a good reason to ask for proshki that day. The tradition of asking your best man and his family for forgiveness started many years ago and nowadays, since we don’t really ask for forgiveness anymore, we use it as an occasion to catch up on everything and sip on wine with meze.

6. Lazarov den

#bulgarianclothes #Bulgatia#bulgariantradition #nosia#носия#lazarki#lazarovden

A photo posted by Darina (@stanoilowa) on

We’re hunting hard-boiled eggs like they’re Faberge and I’ve got the most of all the lazarki. Celebrating St. Lazar, while collecting eggs from friends and neighbors, is a way to nurture friendships and get our protein on.

7. Baba Marta

Vihren (2914m, left) and Kutelo (2908m, right), view from #Todorka peak (2746m), mount #Pirin, #Bulgaria. Sep 15 2011 #traditions #babaMarta #martenica #Пирин #Тодорка #България #martenici #мартеници

A photo posted by Adore Pirin 🌄 🌅 🚴 🍄 ⛺ 🌍 🌠📐 💓 (@real.admirer) on

My wrist is all decked out in martenitsi and it’s weighing me down, so I’m going on a quest to see a flying stork so I can get rid of them all. The 1st of March is perhaps our most internationally-popular holiday. It’s when we wear bracelets made of red-and-white string for the entire month of March, or until we see a stork, in the hopes of attracting good health and professional success. Totally makes sense, we know.

8. Rose day

Bulgaria a.k.a. the land of the tall brunettes #TravelBulgaria #bulgariangirl

A photo posted by Adriana – Private Tour Guide (@privateguidebulgaria) on

Roses are red, violets are blue, some maslodaina roses get bottled, some get eaten, too! Becoming the “queen” of the rose parade in the Karlovo and Kazanlak valleys grants eternal fame. So good luck, ladies. We are absolutely infatuated with our fragrant rose and take an entire day to appreciate it through carnivals, pageants and displays of rose products — from rose balms, to face lotions and foods — we Bulgarians are grateful for our booming rose industry.

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