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winter traditions: january: Grandmother's Day - January 8

     It is celebrated in grandmothers' honour - midwifes for the health of children and pregnant women.
     On this day three rituals are performed: children's bathing, a feast in grandmother's home and grandmother's bathing.
     From the Annunciation, grandmother prepares butter, honey, millet, a bunch of geranium and red wool. Early in the festive morning she visits each house where she has assisted in childbirth. There she baths the children beginning from the smallest one and she sprays lasses and young girls against the evil eye. Then she spreads the children with honey and butter. This spreading is called "painting red" and it is made for children's health. While doing this Grandmother blesses:

     "To be red as the vlasets,
     To buzz like a bee,
     To be sweet like the honey
     To grow like the millet,
     To fat like the piglet!"

     In the region of Panagyurishte grandmother spreads children's chins with white wool to live to a ripe old age.
     All women whom the grandmother has assisted in childbirth during the year take part in the feast. Each of them brings pie with cheese, bread, baked hen and wine. They help the grandmother to wash her hands and give her a towel, an apron, a shirt and other things as presents.
     The holiday finishes with grandmother's bathing. It is called "vlechugane". Everybody adorns with wool and red peppers. Songs are sung with erotic motifs. Men are not admitted on this day. If on their way to the river they meet a man they joke with him. When they reach the river, they bath the grandmother and carrying her in their hands they go to her place.
     There is a legend that an Egyptian tsar had given orders to midwives to kill each newborn boy but they did not do it. Therefore they are endowed with good.