On January 8, we celebrate the Babinden holiday. It is the end of the series of holidays associated with the Nativity of Christ and has been officially celebrated since 1951 on January 8.
The holiday is dedicated to maternity care, midwives, gynecologists, maternities and children's he alth. On this day, the Bulgarian honors the "grandmother", the experienced woman who performed the role of midwife in the past.
According to the Julian calendar, Babinden is celebrated on January 21, which is also a professional holiday for obstetricians and gynecologists.
On the ritual table is placed milk pie, sarmi with meat, pork with leek.
Customs and Rituals
In the past on this day, the grandmother got up early and visited the homes of the children she gave birth to during the year, and sometimes bathed until the 40th day - until then, according to Bulgarian beliefs, it is not known whether the child belongs to this one or to another that world.
By tradition, the grandmother comes to the houses with red and white thread, which she ties on the children, as well as wool, from which she makes beards for the boys and hair for the girls, symbolizing the wish for them to grow old and gray. After visiting all the children she has helped to give birth, the grandmother goes home and prepares to welcome the mothers who have given birth during the year, who come to "water" the grandmother. They give her water to wash herself, they give her a towel and soap, and there is always steam tied in the towels. They also bring bread, cheese, some sort of feast, wine or brandy. They sit at the table and feast. Delighted, the women get up to play people, singing to each other, and the grandmother, with a shovel on which there is a living heat and a sharp flower of various herbs, guides them.
The main moments of the holiday are the bathing of the children by the grandmother and the "bathing" of the grandmother. The women take the grandmother to a river, lake or well, where the ritual bathing takes place. All are adorned with red peppers and wool. Men are not allowed on the holiday. The women flirt and joke with the men they meet along the way. They take the grandmother to bathe her and take her back to the home in their arms.
It is important for all mothers of older children to wash well in the morning. With basil, geranium, a towel and soap, go to the grandmother and donate.
Children - the most important thing in our lives, are also cherished by our ancestors. It was important to give birth to he althy, beautiful and smart children. Grandmothers who gave birth to children were in special respect. "A house without children let fire burn it", says the proverb, and another adds "Who is greater than the king? The child".
According to folk beliefs, in order to give birth to he althy children, a number of prohibitions should be observed:
- One should not conceive children on the night of Friday to Saturday.
- A pregnant woman should not kick a dog or a cat, jump over rye, eat bread returned from a trip, should not walk on spilled water or garbage, but most importantly she should not steal or eat secretly, because what is stolen or eaten secretly comes out as a mark on the child.
- Everything a pregnant woman asks for must be given to her, folk beliefs also say. If food is hidden from her, the child will be spiteful, unhe althy.
- A pregnant woman should also be protected from fear.
For an easy birth, the grandmother midwife should cross herself, light a candle and smoke the house, close windows, doors and untie everything tied up. This way, the birth will go more easily, our people thought. The birth itself must be kept a secret and no one, except the mother-in-law and the grandmother, should know about it. Until the child is baptized, the woman in labor should not get out of bed or stay alone. These are dangerous days for her and the child. The fire in the hearth should not be extinguished until the 40th day.