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The traditional Bulgarian Easter table

Traditionally on Easter Sunday, the whole family gathers for a festive meal. It is varied and rich in flavors and aromas as the day marks the end of the 7-week Easter fast. Each dish carries its own symbolism linked to Jesus Christ and his Resurrection. The Easter table must include colorful (painted) boiled eggs, home-baked cozounacs and cookies, roast lamb, and fresh salad with fresh seasonal vegetables. In the past, and in some places still today, ritual bread was also prepared.

Egg dyeing is done during the day (usually in the morning) on the Thursday or Saturday before Easter. Traditionally, the first egg is always red - a symbol of the blood of Christ. It is used to paint a cross on the foreheads of children and other family members for health. The remaining dyed eggs are kept and placed on the table on the feast day. All present (hosts and guests) choose one egg and measure their strength by tapping them together. The egg that remains firm in the end is called the 'fighter' or 'bouncer' and, according to tradition, the person who chooses it will enjoy health and good luck throughout the year.

After the long Easter fast, the main dish on the table for the feast is delicious and fragrant roast lamb. The lamb is associated with the celebration of Easter. Jesus Christ was called the "Lamb of God" by John the Baptist. God sacrificed his son, who by dying on the cross atoned for the sins of all believers. According to tradition, a lamb was sacrificed on the day of his Resurrection. The lamb's meat is specific in taste, complemented wonderfully by the aroma of mint, oregano, thyme, garlic, cumin, rosemary, coriander, lemon peel. In addition to the classic roast lamb with trimmings, kapama (braised lamb with a stuffing of vegetables - potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, fresh onions, spinach, parsley and spices) is also prepared, lamb liver-sarma with fresh mint and parsley (oven-baked dish with rice and trifle), lamb with lapadews and rice or spinach and rice (combines main dish and side dish), stuffed lamb shoulder (combines main dish and side dish), lamb shoulder in wine sauce, etc. In some places, roast hen or chicken is put on the table and the lamb is left for St George's Day, the day of shepherds and herdsmen.


The typical spring vegetables - lettuce, green onions and garlic, parsley, radishes, nettles, spinach, sorrel, lapad, potatoes - are abundant on the Easter table. They are involved in the preparation of salads, appetizers, side dishes and soups. Fresh green salad with radishes, green onions, lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes (optional), decorated with chopped boiled eggs, is a staple of the festive menu and an excellent appetizer for traditional Bulgarian brandy. The classic potato salad or potato salad with boiled eggs and cucumbers goes wonderfully with the main course - roast lamb. The Tabbouleh salad with fresh parsley, which is abundant at this time of year, is also close to the taste of Bulgarians. The fresh spring vegetables are also suitable for making delicious soups - lamb soup with lamb borscht, lamb soup with lamb borscht or nettle soup, fresh spinach cream soup.


The Easter table is also set with fragrant freshly baked cobblers, mouth-watering mini cobblers - with raisins, chocolate, almonds or a cob roll. In the past, hosts used to prepare traditional ritual bread (Easter cow bread). Kozunak and Easter sweet ritual bread symbolize the body of Christ. During the Last Supper, he took bread and blessed it, then broke it and distributed the pieces to his disciples, telling them "Take, eat, this is my body." The dough for the Easter ritual bread is traditionally kneaded on the Thursday before Easter. It is called differently in different regions of Bulgaria. The bread is usually made in a round shape and decorated with an odd number of red eggs, with twisted dough braids around them. Smaller Easter breads are also prepared with one red egg in the middle for the groomsmen, relatives, and guests. Nowadays these are replaced by fragrant kozunats, but in some places in the country they also knead cravai. The first kozunak was made in the 17th century in France. In Bulgaria, kozunaks appeared later, only in the 1920s - first in the cities and then in the villages, replacing the traditional Easter kravai. The luxurious 'sweet breads', as they were then known, were brought by Romanian traders initially to the towns around the river. Ruse, Shumen. Kozunac is kneaded with flour, sugar, eggs and milk, raisins, almonds, marshmallows or chocolate can be added depending on preference. Traditionally, homemade cookies or muffins are baked for Easter for variety. From the leftover not eaten during the feast and already dried out, you can make a jelly pastry or a pastry with mascarpone and fruit, as well as delicious fried slices topped with liquid chocolate or jam, or sprinkled with powdered sugar.


Water and wine are also put on the festive table. Water has purifying power and symbolizes the spirit of Christ. Red wine symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ.

A candle (preferably from a church) is placed in a central place on the table. Its flame represents life and the Resurrection. A bowl of salt is also placed near it - for the family's well-being and to guard against evil forces.


If you're planning to travel to Sofia during Easter, immerse yourself in the city's rich traditions and vibrant celebrations. From attending solemn church services to enjoying festive meals with family and friends, Easter in Sofia offers a unique cultural experience. And for a comfortable stay during your visit, consider our family-friendly Sofia apartments or luxurious two-bedroom apartments near Vitosha mountain.