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spring traditions: easter: Lazarovden (Lazatnica, Lazar, Lazar's saturday)

     Lazarovden is celebrated on the last Saturday before Easter. There are two main elements of the holiday - the tradition called lazaruvane and the rituals for the dead.
     Lasses and girls take part in the lazaruvane. They start preraring before the fast starts and make groups according to their age. A lass that does not take part in the lazaruvane cannot get married. There are singers in the groups and one of the girls carries an egg-basket. The only gifts that the girls get are white eggs. On Saturday afternoon and on Sunday begore noon the girls go around the village, enter in every house and sing songs to each family member. There is a different song for the lass, the lad, the girl, the child, the host, the shepherd, the ploughman, etc. There is a lass in each village that all the lads, all the other lasses and all the people admit to be the most beautiful one. The girls that take part in the lazaruvane sing a special song to her, in which there is a dialogue between a girl named Rada and her first love. The lad wants her to come out of the house so he could see her slim figure, her white-skinned face and her black eyes. Rada answers that if he has seen a poplar tree, fresh cream and black cherries he would know how her figure, skin and eyes look like.
     On Sunday the elder girls go around the pubs and the shops, to the horo and they sing songs to the people there, who are usually men. When the lazaruvane ends the girls share the gifts they have received.
     The rituals for the dead are carried out mostly in the northwest parts of Bulgaria. It is believed that on Vrubnica all the dead people come out of their graves and expect their relatives tp bring them something. That is why there is a ritual called Lazarska dushnica on Saturday, when everyone gives away food and say that it is for the dead. The women prepare ritual breads with no oil in it and boil wheat. At the evening of the same day the women take bread, the wheat and a bottle of wine and go to the cemetery. They also bring along a censer with incense chars. They cense the grave and pour wine on it.

     Church Holiday: The resurrection of Lazar. Jesus raises Lazar from the dead on the fourth day after his funeral as a sign of gratitude for hospitality he has shown.