24's Night Again December 25, in which Jesus was born, is considered magical. In it, the sky is opened and anyone can wish for something hidden that will come true. At Christmas, according to tradition, Christ comes to Earth and brings with him a fragment of the kingdom of heaven. That is why the tree is decorated with angels, candles, balls and garlands - a symbol of the Paradise Tree overflowing with fruits.
In the old tradition of Christmas Eve, the table and the house come down. On the table are ordered 7 (holy number and number of days in the week), 9 (duration of pregnancy) or 12 (number of months of the year, as well as the number of Apostles) fasting. Foods that are swollen must be prepared - wheat, beans, lentils, rice, oats, raisins. They are a symbol of conception, pregnancy and the birth of a new life. In addition, honey must be present on the sofra (in order to have a sweet life), onions (to be numerous as its flakes), seeds and nuts (for strength and as a sign of a nascent life), fruits and red wine (for fun and beret).
An important element of the festive table is the salt, which is of particular importance for the Bulgarians. It keeps you from a bad date, from bad eyes and spells. The role of garlic is also interesting - nuts, garlic and flaxseeds are crushed, with everyone eating or smearing with this mixture. This, by belief, guarantees energy and health throughout the new year. The table does not rise all night so as not to escape the luck of the house. It is also believed that when the household falls asleep, the deceased come to have dinner.
On Christmas Eve, according to Bulgarian tradition, the family should be together, with each member performing different rituals. Men choose and cut down the "Budnik" - a thick stump of oak or pear, which symbolizes the "World Tree", which reinforces order and harmony in the world. A hole is carved in Budnik, which is filled with red wine, incense and olive oil for the bequet. He turns on the oldest person in the house and lets it burn all night. It is believed that this fire has a purifying power and protects against evil forces, and according to popular beliefs, on the eve of Christmas, the sky and hell are temporarily opened and karakondzhuli and goblins are roaming among people. In the morning the ashes from the Budnik are not thrown away - part of it is scattered on the fields for fertility and the rest is kept in the house as an amulet against evil forces.
And while men perform rituals for the protection of the home, women prepare the festive dinner and, most importantly, the mixing of ceremonial breads begins from the early dawn. The youngest girls bring "silent" water from a rural well, with which the housewife mixes a Christmas lucky cake called "goddess" or "wake". In addition to the coin - a symbol of wealth, it also contains a pimple pimple for health. Usually the cake is richly decorated with various patterns - crosses (bearing the power of God), circles, flowers (the personification of youth and beauty), bows (against impure powers, spirits and diseases) and others.
In addition to good luck bread, other ritual breads are also prepared. Big for the Virgin and smaller for each of the animals in the house. The old Bulgarians packed the sofas with all these breads to have a rich harvest, meat, milk and healthy animals next year.
As she prepares the festive table, the hostess ties the red thread to the pots in which she cooks, thus enhancing everyone's health.
The Christmas Eve dinner itself is mostly a ritual, not so much a meal. The family sits together at the table, and after bringing it to the owner, with a glass of red wine and bread with a candle on it, goes out into the courtyard and invites the patrons of the storms and hailstorms in the summer - Elijah, Bartholomew and Herman, for dinner. gracious and protect their fields from their anger.
The Goddess breaks down from the oldest in the home. The first piece is left for the dead (or for the Virgin), the second for the house, and the rest is distributed to the household members. If the money falls into the piece set aside for the house or for the Virgin, the year will be very good for everyone.
The table is left standing all night and should not be eaten. If someone still needs it, he or she must walk in a tree that has been cut down. In the late evening, everyone leaves the table together to mature the field classes at the same time.
Because on Christmas Eve, by belief, it can be seen in the future, different guesses are made. If the Budnik burns well and sparks, the harvest will be rich. If the weather is cloudy, spring crops will be good and hives will be full of honey. If the whole day is cloudy and gloomy, there will be sickness throughout the year. It is also a custom to guess for health. Each of the family breaks one nut and from whether the kernel is good or rotten, health or illness awaits it.
At midnight also comes the Calendars, the heralds of the good news of the birth of Christ. They go round the houses and bless, and the housewife presents them with cows and sprinkles them with seeds for a rich birch.
This is how songs and mood end the rituals of Christmas. They all show the same thing - the fear of man from evil forces, but also the hope of a new and better beginning at the most festive and miraculous evening - Christmas Eve.