On March 14, we celebrate the holiday of Sirni zagovezni – the last Sunday before the onset of Great Lent or the Sunday of syrup. The holiday is also called Forgiveness Sunday or Forgiveness.
On this day, a liturgy is held in Orthodox churches, where the words of Christ are read: " If you do not forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins."
On Sirni zagovezni the ritual of forgiveness is held. Thus, each person asks for forgiveness from his loved ones and from God, saying the traditional words of forgiveness: " Forgive!" and receiving the answer " Forgiven!"
One week after Meat Market, there must be cheese pie, dishes made with dairy products, festive pita, fish, dishes made without meat, halva or boiled eggs.
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The Hamkane Ritual
On Milk Sunday, another ritual is performed called hamkane, which is the most fun for children. On a red thread that hangs from the ceiling, grandmothers tie a small piece of halva, cheese or a boiled egg. Everyone sits in a circle around the table and with their mouths try to catch what is tied on the string.
According to another folk custom of Sirni zagovezni, big fires should be lit to jump over. This custom mainly involves young men, who also shoot fiery arrows into the yards of those maidens they like. The custom is done for he alth, fertility and banishing evil forces.
After Sirni Zagovezni, Easter fasting begins.