The election of the "king of the vineyards" is an ancient Bulgarian custom, revered in Northern Bulgaria to this day. The feast of the "King of the Vineyards" is a form of the Greco-Thracian Dionysian celebrations. We know that the Thracians used the god of wine Dionysius with great respect. This god and his symbols are often present in the coins of the Thracian rulers, and in the time of Herodotus there is a famous temple of Dionysius in Thrace.


In the wine-growing regions of Northern Bulgaria, where wine production is the main livelihood, the "King of the Vineyards" is celebrated. Its ritual forms are very similar to the mummer's king in Thrace and the "King of the Fields" known among the Slavic peoples.


The folk custom "King of the Vineyards" coincides in the church calendar with the homage paid to the holy martyr Tryphon, who lived in the III century AD. During the feast, the elder of the village calls a basil wrapped in red thread: "Who is happy, let him take this wrist and be Tryphon (or king)!". Whoever is pre-chosen from the feasting, he takes the wrist of basil and the others congratulate him on the "triphoning" (reign): "Let's be happy and prosperous!" Or "Come on, let it be prosperous, pour over the thresholds!" The answer is, "Amen!" The choice of a new king falls on the wealthy and "lucky" man. His reign lasted until next year and the election of a new king.

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When the eating and drinking of the vineyards is over, the celebrants return to the village, accompanied by bagpipes, drums and reeds. The chosen king is adorned with a wreath of vine sticks on his head and another wreath over his shoulders. Passing by car through the village, the king and his companions stop in front of each house to make good wishes. The hosts greet them with a large cauldron of wine, drink them, and with whatever is left in the end - slap the king.


Filip Simidov recounts his memories from the end of the 14,30th century about the custom "king of the vineyards" in Byala, Ruse region. Each participant in the celebration prepares a cup of wine and roast chicken or turkey, then goes on foot or on horseback to his vineyard. There he dropped three sticks from his vines and then went down to the vineyards of the church, where the meeting place of the crowd was. The old "king of the vineyards" arrives at the church dressed in his Easter clothes. He is driven in an ox-cart, and in his hands he carries an icon of St. Tryphon, decorated with basil, flowers and rooster feathers. At XNUMX pm everything is ready and they sit at the common table, full of roasted rams and wine. At noon the old king stands up and announces to all that in the name of God, the Mother of God, St. Tryphon and all the saints to this day, he has been king of the vineyards, but now he wants to choose another in his place. The crowd is silent. Fifteen minutes later, the king got up and repeated his speech, but again no one answered. For the third time, everyone jumps to their feet, fulfills the wish of the old king and chooses a new one in his place. The new king was seized in his arms and taken to his home in the village. At the house of the newly elected king, the feasting continues.

Pandeli Kisimov describes his father's recollections of "electing a king of the vineyards" in the Razgrad villages around 1820. The new king's yard, full of people and a carriage of wine on sledges in the middle, poured wine and drank the king's guests. And when the whole village was assembled, the men put the king on a sleigh, covered with a rug and a pillow, and the bagpipes forward, and led her into the king's arms, stopping at the village squares, where the young people danced around the king's sleigh. and the old ones - full cups from hand to hand. "


The holiday is celebrated for three days on the Orthodox calendar, as the folk etymological interpretation sees the number 3 in the name of Saint Tryphon. Therefore, there is a "first Tryphon", "second" and "third". On the "first trifonets" (February 1) the pruning of the vines begins, that is why it is also called Zarezan. Nothing is done through the "tryphons". The three days are also called "Wolf Holidays".

Legend has it that in those days St. Tryphon's wife spun three spindles and then the wolves almost ate her. Then the women catch nothing: they do not wash, weave or spin, do not open scissors to keep the wolf's jaws closed during the year. During the three "trifonts" the people guess what the weather will be like during the year and whether there will be prosperity. If the weather is good on the first "trifonets" - it means a good autumn harvest, if it is raining on the second - it means a lot of grapes and corn, and if the weather is good on the third - a lot of cocoons and wheat. The people foretell with coals through the "trifonts". They put coals in the pile and wait for them to stay for three days. If they turn black - it is scarce, and if they turn to ashes - a rich harvest is coming.

# city, village and lifestyle

The holiday is often accompanied by a call for health and good luck, known as "trifunosvane". Men's bags should be "full" to be full all year round, the cattle should be healthy, the fruit trees should be wrapped in fruit and the barren women should have children. Early in the morning, the hostess takes the ax and pretends to cut the cattle, beginning to order, "Can you hear me, Tryphon?" The housemates inside answer: "We can't hear you from butter and cheese."


The custom "King of the Vineyards" is one of the most ancient preserved in our lands. It reflects the respect of the ancient inhabitants of the Balkans for wine and its deities.

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