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Customs and traditions
October 26th – St. Demetrius’ Day (Dimitrovden)

On this day the Bulgarian Orthodox Church pays tribute to St. Great-Martyr Demetrius the Myrrh-streamer.

A name day celebrate: Dimitar, Dimitrina, Mitko, Mityo, Dimo, Dimcho, Dimka, Dimana. According to an old tradition, people go to name day celebration uninvited carrying white flowers for the person who has a name day, so that the winter is mild. The flowers are tie with a scarlet thread for health.

The Bulgarian folklore represents St. Demetrius as a twin brother of St. George. While still living, the brothers separated heading to different directions around the world. George told his brother that if he sees blood dripping from the eaves, then he has died. After some time Demetrius saw blood dripping from some eaves and went to the George’s part of the world where he found a dragon who had eaten George. Demetrius forced the dragon to give him George’s soul. Then they mounted their horses and ascended together to heaven. There they separated the year in two equal parts – for St. George the summer, and for St. Demetrius the winter. On St. Demetrius’ Day the ploughs are put in a dry place, wood for the winter is disposed, the first snowfalls are expected.

St. Demetrius’ Day is typical with a ritual “polazvane“, making predictions depending on the first guest. The ritual has different names in the different regions – bulezen, bulezvane or polyazka. It is believed that if the first guests are boys, more male animals will be born during the year. If the guest is a good and wealthy man, the year will be healthy, fruitful and prosperous. On St. Demetrius’ Day begin the engagements and the weddings, the maidens dance a special horo in front of the bachelors and their parents. On St. Demetrius’ Day on the festive table is served boiled mutton or mutton stew and chicken stew – with a rooster if the person with a name day is a man and with a hen if the person with a name day is a woman. Vegetables are served too. On the table is also served boiled maize, damson cheese, apple pie, treacle and pumpkin.

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