On December 24 every Christian family gathers at the festive table to celebrate one of the brightest holidays Christmas Eve.
The day before Christmas marks the end of the 40-day Christmas fast that begins on November 15.
According to folk legends, the Mother of God began her labor pains already on Ignazhden or Little Christmas. But since she gave birth to Christ very young, she did not share on the same day, but on the next day.
That is why, traditionally, young women who give birth for the first time announce their births the next day.
According to Bulgarian tradition, the family should be together on this important Christian holiday. An odd number of dishes, which have a symbolic meaning, are placed on the table. Feasts must be fast After the family has finished the festive meal, it does not rise until early dawn.
It is believed to be a ritual for he alth, prosperity, luck and fertility in the coming year.
Since the name of the holiday comes from the word " буднини", many other fertility and he alth rituals are performed in the coming (future) year. Men traditionally have the responsibility of protecting the home. So they cut a thick piece of oak or pear wood, called a Christmas tree.
The Christmas tree is placed in the stove and lit to burn as long as possible to warm and protect the home. Fire is a symbol of purifying forces.
According to folk beliefs, women are responsible for fertility in the home, which is why they take on the task from early dawn to prepare the ritual meals. Eating at the table on Christmas Eve is not just a meal, it is above all a ritual.
Each feast has its symbolic meaning. Ripe beans are a symbol of fertility and auspicious year. Boiled wheat and walnuts are a prayer for a happy and rich life in the new year. Sarms and stuffed peppers express a prayer for a good harvest.
The ritual bread or loaf (the most important food on the table) is ritually broken by the eldest member of the family. He gives one piece to everyone. Silver vapor and dogwood twigs are traditionally placed in the pita for luck and he alth. Whoever lands the coin will have a lot of luck and prosperity during the year. Whoever has the dogwood branch fall, will enjoy good he alth.
The first piece of bread is left for the Mother of God, the second for the house, the third for the grandmother, and so on down to the smallest member of the family. If the coin lands in the piece for the Virgin, he alth and luck await the whole family in the coming year.
Another important ritual on Christmas Eve is the lighting of a candle on the ritual bread (soda bread) and the burning of the home by the oldest man in the family. It is done to ward off evil forces and pray for he alth in the new year. The holiday dinner doesn't start until after the house is closed.
On this bright holiday name day everyone bearing the name Bogdan, Bogdana, Bojan, Bojana, Evgenia, Evgeni, Biser, Bisera, Biserka, Blagoy, Blagovest, Bogomil, celebrates Blagomir, Blagoslav, Blagovesta, Blagomira, Malcho, Malin, Malena, Malina, Malen.