On Sunday one week before Easter is Palm Sunday. On this day the Christian Church commemorates Palm Sunday when Christ entered solemnly into Jerusalem before the Jewish Passover.
In the morning everybody brings willow twigs and bunches of spring flowers to service (or they take sanctified willow and geranium from the church). Hence the name the Bulgarians have given this holiday – Vrabnica (Willows’ Day). The priest blesses the willow garlands and after that the sanctified willow is taken home and put under the icon. There it will stay until the next Palm Day. It is believed that the blessed willow is wonder-working and healing and is used to mumble incantations against curses to children and to domestic animals.
On this day ends the cycle of maidenly spring games with the Lazarus ritual “kumichene“. The girls who did the ritual “lazaruvane” the previous day gather together and go to the nearby river. Each carries a garland of willow twigs, a bunch of flowers or a kolache (small ritual bread) wrapped in a clean towel, called kukla (doll), hence the name of the feast used in Northwest Bulgaria – Kuklinden. When they reach the river the girls dance a horo and sing song of a romantic nature. The maidens throw their signs along the river flow and the one whose garland or kolache floats ahead of the rest is pronounced kumitsa, godmother to the lazarki. From that moment on she will be highly honored and respected.
With the Lazarus rituals the girls obtain a new social status and are then ready to get married. A very popular folk proverb says that a lad who has not caroled and a maiden who has not done lazaruvane cannot marry but a dragon. In the evening of Vrabnitsa a Lazarus horo is danced in the village square for the last time.
On Palm Sunday a name day celebrate Varban, Tsvetan, Tsveta, Tsvetanka, Tsvyatko, Tsvetelin, Tsvetozar, and all those bearing names of flowers, plants or trees – Yavor, Yasen, Kalina.