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On December 24, we celebrate Christmas Eve or Little Christmas.


It is one of the brightest Christian holidays. It is called Christmas Eve because at midnight on Christmas Day (December 25) Jesus Christ was born in a cave near Bethlehem and thus the ancient prophecies about his coming to earth came true of. It is believed that the night of December 24-25, when Christ was born, is magical - then the sky opens up and if you wish for something secret, it will come true.

Everyone with one of the following names has has a name day on December 24 - Evgeni (means noble), Evgenia, Zheni, Zhechka, Biser, Bisera, Bistra, Bozhin, Bojan, Bojana, Stilian, Stiliana, Blagorodna, Malin.

Christmas Eve is a holiday where the whole family gathers together, and very often our guests choose our furnished apartments for this special dinner, rather than a hotel in Sofia.


Bulgarian traditions and customs related to the celebration of this day date back to ancient times. Some traditions have changed over the years, but others have remained alive and intact to this day. According to tradition, the dishes at the festive table on Christmas Eve should be fasting, since this is the last day of the Great Fast according to the Orthodox Church. They must be an odd number - 7 (as the days in a week), 9 (as the months a pregnancy lasts for women) or 12 (as months in a year has and the number of Holy Apostles). The fuller the table, the more bountiful the coming year will be. The Christmas Eve meal is prepared by the women of the house, and the preparation begins early in the morning with the kneading of the dough for the bread and the kravai, which are later donated to the carolers. Young women who are about to get married do not take part in the kneading of the bread. While preparing the festive table, the hostess ties a red thread to the dishes in which she cooks, thus symbolizing health for the whole family.Christmas Eve, in addition to the trembling expectation of the upcoming birth of the Son of God, according to Bulgarian folk traditions, is also associated with the rebirth of all nature, the increase of the day and fertility. Therefore, there must be foods on the table that swell during preparation - wheat, rice, beans, lentils, ochaf, popcorn and others. Various dishes are prepared from them - stuffed peppers with beans or rice, grape or cabbage sarmi, boiled beans (bean salad), boiled wheat, pickles, ochaf of dried fruits, raisins and the traditional bread with money. In some areas, they also make pumpkin or cabbage. Salt, honey (to make life sweet), garlic (to protect against diseases), onions, nuts and seeds (for strength and as a symbol of nascent life), fruits, red wine (a symbol of the blood of Christ) and rakya. A special place on the table is occupied by the traditional bread with a coin. It is called Bogovitsa and is made from quality white flour, without eggs and milk. Its shape should be round, as a symbol of infinity and cyclicality in life. It is richly decorated on top with crosses (a symbol of God's power), flowers (the personification of beauty and youth), wheat ears and fruits (for fertility) made of dough. A coin (a symbol of wealth), dogwood sticks with buds (for health), sometimes beans and seeds (for fertility) are placed in it. All the prepared dishes are arranged together on the table, since during dinner one should not get up. A big advantage of our hotel apartments for the holidays is that they have a fully equipped kitchen, where you can easily prepare all the meals and share with your relatives and friends during your trip to Sofia.


In the past, foods produced by the family were served, not store-bought. Straw was spread under the table, thereby reproducing the Bethlehem manger where the Virgin Mary gave birth, and various objects were placed next to the table - a bag of money, a sieve with wheat grains, garlic and basil tied with red thread, and others. On Christmas Eve, the table is set early and the whole family gathers around it. A walnut is placed in the four corners of the room to illuminate the four directions of the world. The eldest in the family incenses first the table and then the whole house. According to folk beliefs, this is how the home is purified and evil forces are driven away from it. Everyone sits together at the table, and again the eldest breaks the bread with a coin - the first piece he leaves for the Virgin and the deceased, the second one he sets aside for the house and then distributes to everyone else. This tradition has remained intact over the centuries. The one to whom the piece of bread with the coin falls will be the luckiest person in the coming year and happiness and wealth await him. If the coin falls into the piece of bread set aside for the Mother of God or for the house, then the year will be good and successful for everyone. You should try every dish on the table to keep you going all year round. During dinner, one should not get up from the table (if someone has to get up, they should walk bent over like a tree laden with fruit).Finally, everyone gets up from the table together so that the family can spend the year together. The table is left uneaten throughout the night so that luck does not escape from the house and because of the belief that on this night the sky opens and when people fall asleep, their deceased loved ones come to feed and bless the living. In the past, in the hearth of the house throughout the night a"Badnik" had to burn. This christmas tree is an oak or pear tree cut down early in the morning on December 24 or 2-3 days before. A hole was dug in its base and filled with wax, incense, wine and olive oil. It was ignited by the oldest in the home. According to folk beliefs, the hearth is not supposed to go out and there was always someone awake to watch over the fire - a symbol of the birth of Christ and life in the home, of the light that overcomes the darkness. In the morning, the ashes from Christmas Eve-Tree were not thrown away - part of it was scattered on the fields for fertility, and the rest was kept in the home as an amulet against evil forces. On New Year's Eve, the family guessed what the year would be like - if the fire was raging and sparks came out of it, fertility and a rich harvest were expected. People believed that on Christmas Eve they could see into the future and made various predictions - about the weather, fertility, health and well-being of each member of the family. For example, it was believed that if it is cloudy on Christmas Eve, the spring harvest will be rich and the bees will bring more honey, and if it snows, the bees will swarm a lot, or if it is foggy, it will be like that throughout the year. For fertility, they used onions and salt to divine - when everyone went to bed, the hostess cut a head of onion and put 2-3 pinches of salt in 12 scales, called them the months of the year and put them on the roof of the house. In the morning, if the salt in the shell had melted, the corresponding month would be rainy and fertile, and if the salt remained and solidified, the month would be dry and barren. For for fortune-telling of health, they used walnuts - after dinner, each member of the family chose a walnut, and if the nut was white and large when broken, the person would be healthy throughout the year. This could also be done with ivy from the festive table - the leaves were placed under the pillow and if in the morning they were still fresh and green, the person also expected health.Young women who were about to get married put the first bite of their piece of bread under their pillow to dream of their future groom. After midnight comes the turn of the carolers, who spread the joyful news of the birth of Jesus Christ.


Christmas caroling


This is a traditional Bulgarian custom that marks the arrival of Christmas and is still performed to this day in some parts of the country. At midnight on Christmas Eve, groups of young men called carolers go outside and go from house to house singing carols and blessing the homes and the people in them. In turn, the hosts present them with boiled bagel, meat and other foodstuff. Christmas time is traditionally from midnight on Christmas Eve to sunrise on Christmas Day. According to folk beliefs, then heaven and hell temporarily open and supernatural beings roam among people - karakonjuli and goblins, and carolers through their songs have the power to drive away evil forces. The groups are composed of 10-12 young men or boys who are not married. They have a leader called a stannik - an older married man. Preparation for the Christmas season begins at the beginning of the Christmas fast or on Epiphany (December 20). Then the groups are formed and the leader is chosen, after which the study of the carol songs begins. At midnight on December 24 and 25, the carolers gather in front of the leader's house. Traditionally, they are dressed in festive clothes and topped with yamurluki. On their heads they wear caps richly decorated with boxwood tassels, strings of popcorn and dried fruit, etc. From there they go around the villages, singing carols on the road, in front of the houses and in the houses as well. The wishes are aimed at every home and family. There is a wide variety of carol songs - for health, long life, fertility, luck and prosperity, marriage.

They usually start like this:

Stani Nine, sir.

We sing for you, host.

We come as good guest, 

we come as carolers.

The performance of the carol songs is a ceremonial ritual and therefore it is not allowed to sing them outside of the moments of their learning and the caroling itself.The carol blessing, which is pronounced by a certain blesser from the group of carolers, has a magical power of speech to the householders of the house.

In turn, they gift the carolers with twisted krawais, as well as meat, bacon, beans, onions, flour, walnuts, wine and other products. The caroling ends with a big festive meal. In some places, children - boys from 6 to 12 years of age - can also become carolers. Groups of small carolers go around the homes of neighbors and relatives, singing carol songs and saying wishes for health and prosperity.


Christmas or Nativity (December 25)

Christmas is the brightest holiday, a symbol of family, home comfort, warmth, love, kindness and hope, of twinkling lights and gifts under the tree, of the festive table around which we gather with our loved ones. Christmas is the favorite holiday of the entire team of our hotel apartments. It is a great pleasure for us to welcome Bulgarians and foreigners who come to visit Sofia to see their relatives or to spend an unforgettable vacation in our hotel apartments and interesting capital.


According to the tradition on Christmas, Jesus Christ comes to Earth and brings with him a piece of the heavenly kingdom. The Christmas table is varied and rich. It differs from that of Christmas Eve in that it includes meat dishes, as well as dishes made with cheese, yellow cheese, eggs, butter, milk (products prohibited during fasting). At Christmas, they serve blissful dishes - kapama with pork or veal, roast chicken or turkey, pork, pastrami, grilled or fried meatballs and kebabs, grape or cabbage sarmi, dried fruit. The traditional Bulgarian pie is also prepared. They serve a variety of salads and appetizers - fresh salads (cucumbers, tomatoes), homemade pickles, potato or bean salad, sauerkraut salad, roasted peppers. Christmas is also the day of delicious Christmas gingerbread and cookies, pumpkin and baklava. In recent years, delicacies such as German Stolen be seen on the Bulgarian table, Italian Christmas cakes or Austrian Linzers. Everyone with one of the following names has a name day - Bozhidar, Bozhidara, Bozhin, Bojana, Bozil, Emil, Emilia, Emanuel, Emanuela, Hristo, Christian, Christina, Christofor, Christian, Kristina, Zvezdelin, Zvezdelina, Mladen, Mladena, Radoslav, Radoslava, Radostin , Radostina, Raiko. An interesting fact is that the wish Merry Christmas was used for the first time in 1534. The Christmas holidays in Bulgaria last for 3 days (from December 25 to 27).


The second day of Christmas (December 26) is dedicated to the Mother of God - the Holy Virgin. On this day, St. Joseph - the earthly father of Christ is being celebrated. In Bulgaria, we celebrate Father's Day on December 26. Everyone with one of these names has a name day - David, Dacho, Joseph, Joseph, Darin, Darina.


The third day of Christmas (December 27) is St. Stephen's Day. Everyone with a name  - Stefan, Stefana, Stefania, Stoyan, Stoyanka, Stancho, Stanka,Tanya, Stoil, Stoilka, Stanimir, Stanimira, Stamen, Stamena, Ventsislav, Ventsislava, Zapryan, has a name day.


The last of the Christmas traditions, which is also a kind of end to the holidays, is "survakane".On January 1 (the first day of the new year), children survakat (pat on the back) elders with a specially decorated dogwood stick called survachka or survaknitsa, saying wishes for health, happiness, luck and fertility. The survachka-stick is decorated with wool, yarn, beads, popcorn, dried fruits and others. Nowadays survakane is usually done at home in a family circle, but in the past children used to go from house to house.

has a name day