March 2nd is Big Stew

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March 2nd is Big Stew
March 2nd is Big Stew

On March 2nd we will celebrate Big Stew. There are several designated days of the year in the church calendar when the living pay homage to the dead, with this year's First Choir falling on March 2, a Saturday, a week before Lent begins.

The second stew, popularly called cherry, will be on June 15, 2019., Saturday.

The third stew is the Archangel's stew, which is also called the male stew. It is before Archangel's Day - November 2, 2019. On it we honor all Chetniks, revolutionaries, soldiers, officers and military doctors who participated in the uprisings and wars, together with the Chetnik women and sisters of mercy.

What do you do with stew?

At Dudushnitsa, the graves of deceased loved ones are visited, and "kolivo" - boiled, sweetened wheat - is prepared for commemoration. The Bulgarian tradition also includes bread and wine. In more recent times, small sweets and s altines are added. Memorials are made at the grave, in church or at home.

Usually at the grave the priests perform parastas because it is shorter than the memorial service. It is the more extensive prayer for the repose of souls and includes more prayers as well as readings from the Gospel and apostolic text. Wheat is a symbol of the resurrection, because in the words of St. Ap. Paul a grain of wheat cannot come to life unless it first dies.

Wine is a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ. Burning candles symbolizes fervent faith, and the flames remind of the immortality of the souls of the deceased. The incense means the pure prayer and the flowers the virtues of the deceased.

If you have a deceased loved one, you should go to his grave - wine and water are poured, flowers are brought, a candle is lit for his soul and you give food saying "Take for God to forgive" to someone you know or a stranger. He replies "God forgive".

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