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winter traditions: february: St. Haralampi's Day (Haralampovden, the day of the plague, Aralanbei, Haralanbei ) - February 10

     In folk beliefs St. Haralampi is the master of the diseases and mainly - the master of the plague. That is why on this day housework is not done for protecting from diseases. Early in the morning women knead and bake loafs and ritual bread which they decorate with a cross in the middle and several pimples (of the plague) around it and on its edge they make a big wreath for health. While they are preparing the bread somebody else from the family carries honey to the church in order it to be consecrated. People use honey to spread it on bread and on loafs, then they incense them and hand them out for health. They save some honey as a remedy throughout the year. In some places the ritual bread, prepared by the "the virgins", is carried out of the village in order not to be contaminated.
     In some regions people carefully sweep up the whole house for "diseases to be swept".
     People believe that on this day Aralanbei "aralandisva" (incenses) the ground and it can be already cultivated.
     The holiday is kept mainly in East and West Bulgaria.

     Church Holiday: St. Haralampi - the bishop of Magnezia town (Tessalia). He dies like a martyr for his faith. He is portrayed as the master of the disease that he holds in nine chains or closed in a bottle.