"Koleda (Chrstmas Day) 25 December" hollidays Tip by Scarlie
hollidays, Sofia: 8 reviews and 12 photos
Koleda has the richest & most significant rituals of all the Bulgarian traditional holidays. While Ignazhden (20 Dec) sets off the Xmas celebrations, Koleda is the pinnacle and coincides with the Winter Solstice.
Koleda is a continuation of Budni vecher (Xmas Eve), because it starts at midnight with the ritual of Koleduvane. Only men over 15 can participate in this ritual - mostly bachelors, but also engaged or recently-married men. All carry one common name, which vary from region to region - Koledari, Koladnici, Kolednici, Koledare. Younger boys ('kotki'), run ahead of the group to announce the Koledari's visit.
Between Krustovden 14 Sep and Igazhden 20 Dec, groups of 10-15 are formed and a leader ('stanenik', 'starec') is chosen. The groups also have 'torbar' ('magare') who carries the gifts, and 'bogoslovnik' who decides how to bless each house. Generally, they wish happiness and prosperity, but also have a wishes customised to individual circumstances.
The Koledari wear special outfits and carry sticks decorated w/ popcorn and dried fruits, as well as the ritual breads given by the households. They visit all houses between midnight and dawn. The worst omen is if a house is not visited.
The first song begins:
"Get up, house master,
we are singing for you, our host.
Benevolent guests are coming,
good guests, Koledari."
The host gives in turn them a ritual bread, and the group blesses the house:
"From God, we send you health,
and from us, a good party".
The Koledari also receive money, meat, lard, beans, flour, wine. Part of the collected food is given to the poorest of the group or to the church, and the money to the local school. If someone doesn't want to share their gifts, the others will punish him by stealing his front gate or an animal from the household.
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