"Budni Vecher (Christmas Eve) 24 December" Sofia Local Custom Tip by Scarlie

Sofia Local Customs: 75 reviews and 95 photos

Xmas Eve is the last day of the Xmas Lent, and the tradition calls for preparing 7, 9 or 12 vegetarian meals such as boiled white beans, peppers and/or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, boiled wheat, pumpkin pie, dried plums or dried pears compotte, garlic, honey, fruits, traditional bread, banitsa (filo-pastry pie), cabbage pie.

To protect against a particularly evil spirt (Karakondjoto), kids should wear a garlic clove on a bracelet or necklace of white and red thread, which should be kept until Ivanovden on 6 Jan (frankly, most of us take our chances with Karakondjoto).

Under the table, we put hay and a plough, and just before sitting down, the oldest man takes the plough with three pieces of charcoal and burns incense three times -- for full table, house, pantry, stables & hangar.

The oldest woman makes the "budnik" (a young oak or pear tree, cut by a young man).. A hole is made at the bottom of the stem, and it is filled with oil, wax and incense. The stem is covered in while linen. The budnik is places in the hearth, together with the three pieces of charcoal from the plough - for wheat, wine and corn. If the pieces are covered with ash, the harvest will be good.

The oldest man and woman together hold up the biggest bread and say "may the wheat be that tall". Then the bread is broken and half is placed before the Virgin's icon. The other hald is shared among the family. once you seat on the table, you don't get up until everyone is finished. The table is not cleared until next morning (so the souls of the dead and those away can feast on it during the night.)

At midnight, the Koledari go out. The Koledari are young men who go from house to house and sing songs to 'bless' the households.

We do make the number of vegetarian meals with a mixture of traditional and modern recipes, and we leave the table until the next morning. The Koledari are still going out in smaller towns and villages.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 24, 2004
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