| home | forum | site map | 

spring traditions: march: Mladentsi (forty martyrs) - March 9

     It is celebrated against the disease smallpox, for the health of children and sheep.
     On this day women and especially pregnant women do not do household work. Early in the morning they bring fresh water from the well and splash with it the house and the yard.
     Ritual breads are kneaded - mladentsi, consecrated bread, leavened bread, little rolls of bread and loafs. Mladentsi are mainly prepared in West Bulgaria. They are forty in numbers and represent dolls covered with buds resembling the grains of the smallpox. People spread honey on mladentsi and they are handed out to all children in the house and those that are left are given to the children from next door. Young brides bring mladentsi to their parents, to their godfather and to their brother-in-law.
     The leavened bread is big and round in shape with a cross in the middle. It is also spread with honey and it is handed out to children and sheep.
     It is believed that on this day snakes leave their holes. Who kills a snake, cuts its head, puts seeds of basil in it and plants them. The basil is used as a remedy. If a lass sticks it on her head then lads will be mad about her and she will be protected from magic.

     Church Holiday: St. Forty Martyrs Sevastijski.

     Ritual table: stuffed peppers with beans, stuffed vine leaves with rice or groats, ritual breads. Usually forty numbers are prepared from each dish.