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Customs and traditions
June 24th – Enyovden (Midsummer Day)


On June 24th the Christian Church celebrates the birth of the Prophet St. John the Baptist.

The Bulgarians call this day Enyovden, Yanyovden, St. Ivan the Herb Gatherer or Summer John’s Day.

Before dawn herb gatherers, sorceresses, healers and enchantresses go to gather herbs which they will use later to cure childless women, to chase away evil spirits, to cast spells for love and hatred. According to beliefs, herb gatherers must not be seen by anyone, that is why they set off “in the dead of night”. All women and girls gather Enyovden flowers and herbs. The most wanted flower is the enyovche, yanovche, yanyuvichka (Lady’s Bedstraw) – the most important of the nymph herbs. It cures a number of diseases and chases away dragons and nymphs. The Enyovden flowers are made into posies intended for each member of the family and are left under the eave overnight. In the morning, depending on whether the posy is fresh or whithered, it is used to make predictions about the health of the respective person. These posies are then dried and used as a cure throughout the year. The maidens weave a big Enyovden garland. Everybody passes through it three times in order to be healthy and it is later dried and kept as a cure all year. People hang lady’s bedstraw posies on the doors and Enyovden garlands on the horns of the cattle: for health and to chase away bad diseases.

On Enyovden is celebrated the custom Enyova bulya or Enya. The maidens gather and dress up a 5-6-year-old girl as bride. One of the maidens carries the girl on one shoulder and together with the rest go around the village singing ritual songs for love and fruitfulness. After the tour the maidens return to the house where they have dressed the girl up. There the ceremony begins – predicting marriages, called singing over the posies and the rings of the maidens.

On Enyovden celebrate those bearing the name Enyo, Encho, Yana, Yane, Yanko.

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