We are delighted to inform you that we have just opened our 4th Balkansko shop in the most artistic city of Bulgaria – Plovdiv. The shop is located at ...
The photographic exhibition from 14 March 2014 to 28 March 2014. In the “Great Art Hall” of Radio Varna took place the photographic exhibi ...
Customs and traditions
Bulgarian Traditions in Child Care

These rituals and traditions are related to young mothers and children.

Their purpose is to protect the young mothers and children from evil influence, to help mothers to return to their normal lives at home, and to the child to grow healthy and be predestined with a good future.

The newborn baby is first carried above the fireplace or is alternatively wriggled through a trivet in order to be healthy. The next important ritual is when the young mother breastfeeds the newborn for the first time. During the first breastfeeding, the midwife holds a sieve with bread and garlic above the mother’s head and one bread under each of her arms, so that the child will always be satisfied. If the young mother still had no milk, another woman was invited for the first breastfeeding of the child. The wet-nurse would meet the following criteria: she had to be a breastfeeding mother, be a clean and good-natured woman, and all of her children had to be alive.

During the first bathing ritual, the mother and her assistants put different herbs in the bathing water (about 40 herbs) for the baby’s health, they also drop a silver coin and break an egg into the water.

One of the most popular Bulgarian traditions in child care is the salting of the baby. This is done on the third day after the birth of the child. After the bath, all parts of the child’s body except for its head are covered with a thick layer of salt. Then the child is swaddled and left to spend the night with the salt on. Then on the next day the salt is washed away. This is done in order to prevent the child’s perspiration from having a bad odor.

It was believed that on the third day after birth the fatal sisters would come and sit by the child to predestine the child’s future: how long would the child live, whom it would marry, what would its social and property status be, etc.

The young mother is considered “unclean” during the first 40 days after she gives birth, so she should comply with a number of taboos. During those days the mother should keep away from fire, and should not approach the fountains or the wells. If she is still to go and bring water, she should wait at a significant distance for someone else to fill the coppers for her, as it is believed that otherwise the well will run dry. The young mom should not wash her baby’s diapers or knead bread, she should keep away from barns, orchards, and should not come out on the threshing floor, because it was considered a bad omen.


The 40-th day is considered a day for purification. On that day, the mother and the midwife go to church together for the so called “purifying prayer”.

The “round loaf” ritual

According to traditional belief, the fate of the newborn also indirectly depends on the first visit at the home of the young mother and child, or the so called “loaf” ritual. In different Bulgarian dialects it is also known as: round loaf (pogacha), flat cake (tourta), panuda.

This ritual is performed before the “unclean” 40 days from birth have passed. Only married women with children should be invited to take part in this ritual. At the young mother’s home, a round loaf with no decorations is baked, and other seasonal meals are prepared.

The midwife thurifies and blesses the round loaf and breaks the loaf above her own head. The blessing is for the child, so that it will be healthy, happy, erudite, prosperous, with many children, etc. The women leave the money they brought close to the child, tied neatly in a cloth, so that “the child will be thrifty”. The guests leave behind the utensils by which they have brought food, so that the child “will not carry property out of home”. On the following day the guests receive their utensils filled with corn.

The “loaf” rituals always comes to its close before sundown. So that the child will never “be late” in real life. And most importantly, he or she will marry in time. This is one of the main ritual purposes of the celebration cycle, along with providing for the normal growth and development of the child in the village community.

Nowadays, this ritual is observed in many regions, but has significantly changed due to the mixture of traditions and stories collected from all over the country.


Baptizing the Child


The child’s baptizing has its Orthodox and its traditional aspects. As a result of the Orthodox aspect comes the establishment of a spiritual relation with the sponsor and godfather. Sponsorship at the wedding is an honor which is inherited, subsequently, it is not a new relationship and does not receive a Christian meaning.

Baptizing all children in “the same water”, i.e. in the same baptismal font, carries a great ceremonial significance. By traditional belief baptizing is considered as fraternization, so it is practically accepted as an obstacle to marriage.

Babies were usually baptized not later than ten days after birth. The baptizing ceremony is always performed on holidays, usually on Sundays. By tradition, the parents’ sponsor at the wedding also becomes godfather for the child. If the sponsor is not able to play his part in the ceremony, he shall choose an appropriate person from his family.

Usually, the first names to be “reused” are those of the father’s father and mother, and then comes the turn of the names of the mother’s parents. The godfather shall choose the names in the above order. An interesting fact is that the godfather has the right to choose a name without taking into consideration the opinion of the rest of the family.

If there is no church in the village, the baptizing ceremony is performed at home.

The godfather bestows the child with a shirt and a wrapper and receives in return form the child’s parents a change of linen or a shirt. The act of the bestowal is performed at the feast table. In certain villages the round loaf is broken up with a blessing. In some areas, the godmother symbolically feeds the child with a bite of the loaf and puts a spoon under the child’s left arm. This is especially important with boys because the meaning of the “spoon ritual” is that the boy will be able to effortlessly charm women (put them under his arm the way the spoon was put under his) and get married easily.


First Steps Celebration (proshtapoulnik)

This tradition, also known as prestapulkya, proshtapalnik, celebrates the first steps taken by the young child. It is best if ritual is performed on Monday, Wednesday, or Sunday.

For the ritual, the toddler’s mother makes a round loaf with no decoration. The most important part of the ritual is the rolling down of the round loaf so that the toddler could follow the loaf and grab it. Usually, neighbors’ children are invited to participate in the ritual. The children are left to run about. If they do not stumble, the toddler will be nimble and dexterous. In separate areas, before the loaf is rolled down it is given to a nimble and dexterous person who makes a couple of runs around the room loaf in hands. In certain regions, the loaf is rolled down and then water is poured after it so that the toddler could walk on the water for luck and wellbeing.

On that day, predictions for the child’s future profession are made. The object which the child grabs first will show what sort of profession the child will choose when he or she grows up. The objects are arranged at the end of a makeshift path down which the loaf is rolled. The most important thing is that each object is already defined as a symbol of a particular profession, and preferably the objects are new to the child.


On May the 6th the Orthodox Church observes martyr Saint George the Victorious born in Cappadocia, Anatolia. His military skills.. ...
Bulgarians have many ceremonies and customs (some of them unique) coming from mixing pagan with Christian perception of the world... ...
Bulgarian crafts
Artistic knitting is a traditional Bulgarian craft which includes knitting work with one hook and five needles, point lace and Brussels lace. In the n ...