A Guide to the Bulgarian Christmas
The Christmas time in Bulgaria is full of old traditions. Bulgarians celebrate Christmas on December 25th. All towns are decorated with Christmas lights and trees.
Christmas Eve called "Badni Vecher" is a very important day for Bulgarians. It's a rich vegetarian meal and includes dishes made of different such as beans soup, 'sarmi' cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, peppers stuffed with rice, boiled wheat with sugar and walnuts, different kinds of pastries, lots of fruits and nuts, dried apricots, oranges and tangerines and 'oshav' a dried fruit compote and the traditional Banitza. We prepare 7, 9, or 11 traditional Christmas meals as on the table there should always be an odd number of meals. Another special aspect of the the Bulgarian Christmas Eve meal is the round loaf of bread, into which a coin is baked. The person who finds the coin will be rewarded with good fortune. It's traditional that the table is left with all the food on it until the morning of Christmas Day. Some people think their ancestors might like something to eat during the night!
On Christmas Day we have another big meal, but this time there will be meat, usually some kind of pork. We exchange gifts in the morning of 25th December.
Anothertraditional ritual that was practiced in Bulgaria during Christmas is Koleduvane. Koledari, or Christmas carolers, go from house to house through villages. These groups of carolers are typically made up of young men dressed in traditional costumes which vary from region to region. Some preparation goes into the koledari's performances, which begin at midnight on Christmas Eve. This tradition is said to protect against evil spirits. The koledari are rewarded with food in return for their services.