How To Celebrate Easter in Bulgaria Like a Local!



Easter is the holiest day of the year for Bulgarians

Easter (in Bulgarian Великден; Velikden – Great Day) is a traditional celebration that Bulgarians enjoy the most, has all the components to have a great time, a mix of Christian and pagan rituals, delicious thematic food, and four days off at the beginning of the spring.

Bulgaria is a largely Orthodox Christian country, along with much of the Balkans, is a family celebration where people travel across the country to meet with their relatives and enjoy together.

Easter in Bulgaria is usually during a different time than the rest of the world. If you are on the territory of Bulgaria during our Easter, this year 2019, the celebration begins on the 26th of April and ends on the 29th of April, the difference in the dates with most of the other Christian countries is that Bulgaria celebrates Easter according to the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.

The good news is that Monday is not working day, and kids from the school are also enjoying the Spring vacation.

So get ready to have fun – Bulgarian love this holiday probably more than they love Christmas, and its a national pride together with Martenitsa and Bulgarian alphabet, from painting the eggs, eating delicious food, Easter salad, and eggs battles on Holy Sunday!

easter in Bulgaria

Easter Food Traditions

In Bulgarian Orthodox Church tradition, the Lenten fast begins on Zagovezni, the Sunday six weeks before Easter. For the 46 days of Lent, church members abstain from all animal and fish products and byproducts, including butter, cheese, milk, and caviar.

On Easter Sunday, after 46 days of fast and abstinence, a feast of all the prohibited food is spread on the table, with the kozunak (a delicious sweet bread), symbolizing the body of Christ, taking center stage. Lamb, representing the Paschal Lamb, is always served.

Palm Sunday Begins Holy Week

Palm Sunday is known in Bulgaria as Tsvetnitsa or Vrubnitsa (Flower Day), and the faithful are given a dispensation and allowed to eat fish.

Since palms aren’t readily available, pussy willows are taken to the church to be blessed. The branches are often fashioned into crowns by young girls and worn to church until they are thrown in a river—hopefully, to be caught by their future husbands on the other side.

Easter Sunday

Many people named after flowers or plants, including those with names like Violeta, Roza and Lillia, celebrate their name day on Palm Sunday, and others called Velichka, Velina, Velika and Veichko have their name day on Easter day.

Holy or Maundy Thursday

Easter eggs are dyed on Maundy (Holy) Thursday or Holy Saturday. The first red egg dyed on Holy Thursday is a symbol of health and good fortune for the family and is set aside to be kept until next Easter.

Good Friday

Good Friday

Good Friday is the anniversary of the Crucifixion and the day when a table is set up in churches representing Christ’s coffin the faithful climb underneath in the hopes of having a year full of health and fertility.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday services begin at 11 p.m. Families and friends attend church together, carrying their colored eggs with them. When the clock strikes midnight, they greet each other with the words Hristos Vozkrese (Christ has risen). The response is Voistina Vozkrese (Indeed, He has risen).

(Photos: Plovdiv Diocese, and Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

The priest and the faithful then walk around the church three times with lit candles in hand. The belief is that the candle of anyone who has been a good Christian will not go out no matter how strong the wind blows.

Holy Sunday

The egg is a symbol of rebirth, adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.

Then when the family gathers together, starts the all-important “egg Tapping” or choukane s yaitsa takes place. Opponents smash their eggs into each other. The person with the egg left unbroken is proclaimed the winner or borak. The winning egg is kept until next Easter and is a sign of good luck.

This is a medieval tradition, egg tapping was practiced in Europe. The practice was mentioned to have played an important part in the 14th century in the Easter festival.


Then now, get ready to enjoy the Easter celebrations in 2019!

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