| home | forum | site map | 

winter traditions: december: St. Varvara's Day (Varvari's Day, Varvardan) - December 4

     In folk beliefs Varvara and her sister Sava (celebrated on the following day), the two St. Nicholas' sisters, organize his holiday and therefore it is called: "Varvara boils, Sava kneads and Nicholas treats."
     St. Varvara is respected for being a protector against the smallpox and other diseases.
     Women prepare ritual pulse as they do on Andreevden. In order to propitiate the smallpox the night before the holiday they set the table or they leave a honey loaf on the table for Baba Sharka to have a bite and to leave children on their own. Having the same aim in West Bulgaria an odd number of children lights a fire at crossroads and jump over it three times. A firebrand is saved as a remedy against measles.
     For the holiday loafs are kneaded, spread with honey and are handed out to children and neighbours.
     In the region of Kyustendil lasses, called "varvarki" go round the houses and greet their musters.
     In some regions of the country, the holiday is connected with the custom "polazvane" (Ignajden).

     Church Holiday: St. Varvara, sabred after cruel sufferings for the sake of her determination not to reject her Christian faith.

     Ritual Table: Honey loaf, a bowl containing honey, salt, pepper and a bottle containing water are put by the fireside.