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Customs and traditions
October 14th – Righteous Paraskeve of Epivates (St. Petka of Bulgaria, Petkovden)

On October 14th the Orthodox Church commemorates the feast day of Righteous Paraskeve or Petka of Bulgaria. A name day celebrate Petka, Petko, Penko, Petkana, Petkan, Penka, Petrana, Petra, Petrina, Petriya, Petrichka, Paraskev, Paraskeva, Keva, Parashkeva, Parashkev, Parush.

Praising the postmortal glory of St. Paraskeve is related to the Bulgarian Kingdom. When the Eastern Roman Empire was conquered by the Latins (after 1204), the relics of the Righteous Petka were translated from Epivates to Tarnovo in 1238, in the time of tsar John Asen II and patriarch Joachim. There the Righteous Petka enjoys being exceptionally honored as a patron saint of the town and the whole kingdom

St. Petka is the patron saint of marriage and fertility. In folk legends the saint is mixed with the spirit – patron of the house and the family (that is why she appears as a snake – a guardian of the house). On Petkovden ritual ring-shaped bread is made and the largest one is dedicated to St. Petka. The bread and the house must be sprinkled with holy water and the whole family must bow three times to the round bread.

In all the Bulgarian lands St. Petka’s Day marks the beginning of a twenty-day period full of prohibitions of a magic nature. During this period, which is considered dangerous and harmful, women must not work with wool. They must not cut or saw clothes for their husbands, or otherwise the herds and the shepherds will be attacked by wolves.


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