Did you know that on the 6th of May Bulgaria celebrates the day of the Christian Saint George?
It is a national holiday, and also the day we, Bulgarians , celebrate the Valiance of the of the Bulgarian Army.
During the Communist days of Bulgaria the day was celebrated as a day of the shepard.
The day of Saint George is one of the most celebrated holidays in Bulgaria, not only because it is in the beginning of spring, but also because George is one of the most common Bulgarian names.It is estimated that more than 180 thousand men in Bulgaria are named George (Georgi). On the same day women named Gergana ( the female version of the name Georgi) celebrate too.
The day of saint George was really important for Bulgarians in the past. It was believed that he helps the crops grow and blesses the morning dew, so early in the morning they walked in the pastures and meadows and collected dew, washed their face, hands and feet in it for good luck and even in some rural parts of Bulgaria it was a custom to roll in it naked.
It is also believed that on Saint Georges day herbs have special magical powers and that it was the best day to break evil spells and make good fertility spells. It was a custom (a somewhat barbaric one ) that every Christian home should kill a lamb.The lamb to be offered was picked in different ways- some picked the firs lamb to be born that year, some the first to go out of the barn, some the first white or black lamb etc. Then the lamb was fed with bread, salt, fresh grass and herbs. It was given holy water to drink and sometimes a priest blessed it.
In different parts of Bulgaria there were different customs about where the lamb should be killed.
Some believed that it should be killed in the home, to bring prosperity to the family, others that it should be killed in the fields as an offering to God and as a prayer that the crops would be good.
Nowadays although seldom families kill their own lambs it is a custom to cook lamb and gather the whole family around the table on Saint Georges day.