artist: Vesko Radulov / painting / oil paintings / Yugovo village

In the central part of the divine Rhodopes, amidst the incredible sounds of kaba bagpipe, is the small village of Yugovo. According to recent censuses, only 44 people live in the village (and given that the census is from 2015 year, today they are probably even smaller).


However, despite its small size, the village of Yugovo is a source of all sorts of folk legends. One of these legends is the so-called "toast".




Until the early 21 century, "toasts" were poorly known. The first information about them was published by local historian Ivan Gashchilov in 1994, in his work for the village of Yugovo and local builders.


Name and appearance.


The main name of the image is 'toast', although names such as 'aunts', 'spirits', 'candles' and 'saints' may also be heard. The name "spirits" is explained by the fact that "toasts" are invisible. Although they cannot be seen, they can be heard (more on that - in a little while!). According to locals, they are four girls about ten years old. There are two types: "ours" - inhabiting the village of Yugovo and "yabandzhiiski" (jabanjia - a foreigner, immigrant) - inhabiting other surrounding villages.




According to the stories of the locals, the "toasts" lived in the so-called "konak" - an uninhabited room from a house in the village. In this house one must necessarily live, otherwise the "toasts" were lonely and their crying was heard at night. In the beginning there were two “konakas” in the village, but only one remained afterwards. In it, believing women from the village came to pray on certain days of the week for health.


The voices of little girls could be heard from the ghost of "toast" at night. According to legend, they went somewhere, although it is not known exactly where, and returned in the morning. Other signs of living in the "konak" were the tapping of the stairs and the ceiling, the knocking of wooden utensils in the kitchen. The owner of Konak from the village says he is afraid to approach the occupied room at night.


The Konak door must be open so that the "toasts" can easily go in and out. Darkness and silence must be maintained in the room itself. The only light source is candles that are lit in honor of the "toasts" on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.


If their skate breaks down or their occupant dies or leaves, they sob and cry. It happens at night. However, once the first roosters sang, the crying stopped. One can also show the "toasts" that they are not wanted in his home by leaving the lamp in the "konak" turned on.

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Honoring the "toasts"


It is divided into two main groups: individual (family) and collective (from the whole village).


RџSЂRё individual worship, The "toast" of the "toasts" is visited on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and candles are lit (Saturday, two candles are obligatory, and the other days the number does not matter), as well as the ritual bread called "puppet" (" petticoat).



Collective (community) honors, only performed in the fall, in the days before Christmas Eve. They are organized by older southerners, who gather 10 - 15 girls and along with them go around the village and collect gifts: limes flour, corn fucker (or tarahana), bulgur, beans. The products are then carried to predetermined houses where the aforementioned ritual bread is made.


Then, on a wide meadow, all the loaves, both village and private, brought by the women hosts of each house are arranged. In addition, milk and dairy products are still brought to the table but no meat.


The next day, the girls involved go to work at the local temple, each carrying a five-part ritual bread to perform the Pentecostal church service (based on the religious moment when God fed five thousand people with five breads and two fish). Unfortunately, however, this village celebration ended in the 50 years of the 20 century.


Lome (giving out) for "toasts"


Breaking is done mainly for health. However, there are different ways of breaking and honoring, depending on what one wants to do with the "toasts".


For example, if a person is healthy and just wants to keep his current state, he prepares the above-mentioned ritual breads. But if he wants to break to cure a disease or to cure another, the "puppet" is sweetened with honey or sugar.


Although not compulsory, turban can be cooked for 'toasts', with no specific date set for its preparation. Unlike ritual breads, for example, weddings are made the day before the wedding. It is a requirement that the animal be a male.


Lomene is also performed in honor of a newborn child. Two ritual breads are made - one for the mother and the other for the "toasts". This is done on the third day after birth.


Last but not least, breaking is done for the wedding. The "toasts" are invited to the wedding of the previous day, and in their honor the whole village gives out bread (as we mentioned, the day before the wedding).


Demonic traits.


However, in addition to donating health, toasts also have some other, not particularly enjoyable, functions. For example, for a sin committed, they can make young children or elderly women sick with the so-called "Baba Sharka". Moreover, their excessive joy (abundance of healthy women and children) also leads to illness.


Similar characters


A similar "toast" character is the so-called "sore throat". The image is presented as a man, despite the woman's name. Unlike toasts, he is not invisible. On the contrary - it's even scary. There is only one eye and a hole in the nose. Another significant difference is that, unlike "toasts", it infects people of any gender and age, while they only infect older women and young children. In addition, the name of the "sore throat" is not mentioned, as she eavesdrops and when she hears her name, she comes immediately. That is why it is called 'toast' (there are no singular in 'toast' and so it is clear that it is not about them but the 'sore').


Even small depopulated villages, such as the village of Yugovo, hide incredible secrets from the rich Bulgarian folklore. We can rejoice that we are endowed with such wealth and immerse ourselves in his incredible world, learning even more about him.


If you are interested in Bulgarian folklore, I would strongly recommend Rosen Malchev's book Agiology and Demonology. It is from there that the text itself is about the "toasts" and there are many more similar and no less interesting texts.

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