Meat Cloak (Sunday of the Last Judgment) is an Orthodox church holiday that is always celebrated on Sunday, 8 weeks before Easter. The day before Meaty Cloak, Saturday, is marked "Big Choke" - then we honor and say goodbye to the dead. He walks on the grave of his relatives, coughs, pours himself wine, lights a candle and gives out grain, unleavened bread, cheese, eggs.
Traditionally, before the Meat Zagovezny dinner, young people visit the godfather and the bride's parents and bring them gifts - boiled chicken, ritual bread, wine. The festive family meal consists mainly of meat dishes - chicken, pork with cabbage, meat sarmi, banana with animal fat and more.
The day is also called "Meatless Sunday" because it is the last day before fasting when meat is eaten. The guy wants forgiveness to get the girl he has chosen.
During the week, numerous fun and games take place between "Meat" and "Sirni Zagovezni" ("Sirnitsa"), after which they are strictly forbidden. The temples read scriptures that speak of the Last Judgment. Thus, the Church recalls the tragic consequences of sin and calls for virtue and humility.
On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at Sirnitsa the cradles are tied and the girls and boys are swinging for health. Again for health these days, fires are lit, bypasses, and people play and sing songs around them. Through all this tumultuous fun, love and fiery magical rituals, the people celebrate the week after which the great Easter fast begins - weddings and parties stop, the world and people change. The sun is turning to summer, one is adjusting for faith, but also for the coming difficult working season.
"Sirni Zagovezni" has a very important place and importance in the folk customs. The transition from one state to another, as well as purification, require sufficient time and preparation, so that the days before and after the Shrouds are littered with rituals and meaning.
Ever since the morning of the holiday Sunday, fires are lit at the highest place in the village or in the meadow. It is believed that as long as his light reaches, there will be fertility. The fires are jumped by the boys for health while the girls play the choir. It is also believed that bypassing fire cleanses fleas, parasites, demons and sins. Burns "Cranberries" (tar-smeared baskets), "Collars" (wood split and full of straw that burns and rotates), "oleys" (lit with tar), all of which symbolize the movement of the sun and the sun energy.
An interesting custom is throwing arrows or so-called. Tukane, especially in Eastern and Southeastern Bulgaria. Each bachelor shoots in the yard of the girl he likes, hand-drawn and lighted arrows. The girl's family stands awake to quench them, and the young woman gathers them to show her friends how much she likes them.
For the dinner of Cheese Zagovezny, ordinary foods are prepared - banitsa, boiled wheat, eggs, pond, milk with rice. The bread is not rite and the meal is not smoking. On this day, the last food is eaten without food of animal origin, and then the preparation begins, ie. fasting.
By dinner itself, the custom of forgiveness must end - it takes guests to elderly relatives, godparents and relatives, and asks for forgiveness with the words: "Farewell!" And the answer: "To be forgiven!" Or "Just to you is! " According to the people of that day, the heavens and the earth forgive, so must the people. This tradition helps to understand, believe, and forgiveness from the cross of Calvary. It is a symbol of nobility and brings the deep inner peace necessary for fasting.
For "forgiveness", a man is lemon and a woman is orange. The young also say goodbye to the last kiss because during Easter fasting and kissing is considered a sin.
The most characteristic and entertaining of "Sirni Zagovezni" is the tradition with the so-called. "Hammock". Red thread is tied to the highest beam in the house and at the end hang a boiled egg or halva. The oldest man turns the thread into a circle and everyone seeks to grasp the egg (halvah) with his mouth. Whoever succeeds will be alive and well throughout the year. "Hamming" ends with the ignition and guessing of how the thread burns. If there are young people to marry in the house and the thread is on fire - there will be a wedding soon. If the thread burns fast - there will be a lot of grain during the year if it does not deteriorate. After the holiday, the egg or halvah of the thread is harvested and served as a cure during the year. The eggshells eaten at the Cheesecloth are thrown on the road to carry the hens more. The leftovers of the blissful meal are left for the morning - to be eaten by the children to produce colorful lambs.
In the evening after dinner, the men rush to announce the start of the Easter fast. Young people who were unable to marry in the winter break up by a special fire (the Eagle) and give themselves freedom. So the old vows are gone and everyone can choose a new love.
According to folk beliefs, in the week after "Sirni Zagovezni", the so-called "Black (Todorova) Sunday", the Devil is raging outside. That is why Black Tuesday, Crazy Wednesday and Vertigo Thursday are not worked on and are kept quiet. In "Pesi Monday" or "Kukerovden" the persecution of evil continues. Dressed in scary masks and a belt with vats, they perform a number of rites of blessing and banishment of evil forces.
The Curiosities of Cheesecakes is under preparation for the longest running 49-day Easter fast of the year. That is why it bears the idea of a last resort. But fasting is not just about vegetarianism and deprivation. It is a kind of magic, cleansing from evil. A test for the man clinging to the material. Awareness of our place in spiritual development. In the tradition, fasting means temporary death followed by a new birth. It is the eternal cycle, the rotation of the cycle from infertility to fertility, the transition of nature from winter to spring.