On 6th of May Orthodox Christians pay tribute to martyr St. George the Conqueror, who was born in Kapadokia, Asia Minor. Because of his warrior skills he has been honoured with a rank of tribune. The Saint has fervently preached the Christian faith and therefore he was locked in dungeon and slain in 305 AD during emperor Diokletian’s control.
St. George’s day takes a very important place in Bulgarian cycle of holy-days. It is celebrated in the bloom of spring and marks the beginning of new crops yield and gathering. It is one of the most loved and honoured spring holy-days and it is praised in many songs. People say about it: “Good day is Easter Day, but better – St. George’s Day!”.
In every home it is a tradition to offer a sacrifice to the saint – white male lamb. In the past the tradition was so strong that a family who has not offered a sacrifice, has been reproached by its neighbours. That’s why everyone, even a poor man, has laid up a little bit of money for lamb – gift for St. George.
Also important part is the preparation of George’s breads. They are three kinds – one for the festive table, one for the sheep-folds and the third is offered to people as a gift for good will.
The lamb and the bread, already cooked, are taken to a church where a priest sanctifies them. Then women arrange a plentiful festive table in church yard, near chapel, consecrated in the name of St. George ground, near sheep-folds or just on a green vast lawn. Fresh milk, yoghourt, cheese, fresh garlic are also served on the table on that day.
Nowadays St. Goerge’s Day is still one of the most loved one, symbol of spring, youth, life, fertility. People named George, Gergana, Gergin, Ganka, Gano, Gjuro etc. are celebrating a name-day.