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Customs and traditions
September 14th – Elevation of the Holy Cross (Krastovden)

On September 14th the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates the Elevation of the Holy Cross (Krastovden). A name day celebrate: Krastan, Krastana, Krastyo, Krastina, Krastil, Krastila, Krastilena, Krastena.

The Bulgarians associate this day with the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. According to tradition, on Krastovden, also called Grozdobernik (grape harvesting day), the sowing seed is sanctified and the harvesting of the grapes begins.

The feast is associated with important events in the history of the Christian Church: the miraculous apparition of the Holy Cross to the Emperor Constantine the Great, the finding of the Cross on Golgotha by the Empress Helen, the mother of St. Constantine the Great, who visited the holy places in Palestine, and the recovering of the Life-Giving Cross from the Persians in the 17th century.

After the Passion and the crucifixion of Jesus, the cross turns into a sacrificial symbol of the salvation and redemption of the sin. It represents the sacrificial love, the victory over evil, the belonging to Christianity.

On this day the Church worships the Venerable Life-Giving Cross. Traditionally on Krastovden a strict fast is observed and the dishes for the feast are leek pasty and baked pumpkin. The bunch of grapes first picked is taken to church to be sanctified and is given away for fecundity and health. On Elevation of the Holy Cross celebrate the healers who cure back pains, sprained and broken limbs.

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