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Remains to easter

Easter 04.19.2014 12:00

History of the Easter holiday

Each calendar year the date of Easter changes, calculated according to the lunar calendar, but it is always in the period from April 4 to May 8. On this day Christianity celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. The holiday is preceded by a week called "The Holy week" in the days Wednesday, Thursday and Friday when different rituals are performed and numerous prohibitions are observed. On Wednesday no women's work is done - knitting, sewing or weaving. Thursday called Maundy Thursday, is the day for decorating the eggs. Eggs for decoration are collected from Monday, but the best are considered the eggs laid on Thursday. A large number of eggs are prepared, because in addition to the eggs for all the people in the house there should also be eggs for the best man, for the children, and for anyone who enters the house, because otherwise the luck will leave the house. The First Painted Egg is always red and it is believed to have magical powers. The cheeks of children are rubbed with it to keep them healthy and rosy. In some regions of the country it is preserved until the next Maundy Thursday and the state of its contents will be used to predict the future, elsewhere the custom is to bury it in the field on St. George’s day to keep it from hail. Red dye is obtained from “karmaz” /red dye made of dried insects/or oregano harvested and dried in Midsummer. Eggs are washed with ash water and boiled in water with cabbage juice or alum. The dyeing is done by the oldest woman, and the additional decoration - by girls. Painted and decorated with geometric, plant and other patterns eggs are called perashki, painted eggs. Maundy Thursday and the following six Thursdays to Ascension are cherished to prevent hail, so women do not wash, do not weave, do not wash with bat, do not sew. On this day there is a custom to renew leaven which is done by putting herbs in the dough. From this new, young leaven the special ritual bread is prepared on the next day - Friday. Easter ritual breads are several types and are designed for the festive family table, for the godfather and relatives, for the “Lazarska kumitsa”. In shape they are round, oblong or made of several pieces of dough knitted in special pattern. They are called Yaychelnik, kukulnik, Pasca, Easter buns. Prepared with oil and brushed with egg yolk, they are an essential element of the food on that day. An egg or several eggs are placed on the bread before baking, in the different regions of the country the eggs can be painted or not. Usually on Saturday called Holy Saturday, women go to the cemetery where they carry and give away from the eggs and bread for the memory of the dead. The bread for the best man is carried to his house by the newly wed couple on the day of celebration - Sunday. They also bring painted eggs. The hosts also give eggs to the young couple. Such visits are also made to the home of the bride and are called bow. Girls who are “kumichili” and fast (don’t speak) of “kumitsata” from Palm Sunday till Easter, on this day go to her, and each one carries a special bun, “kumichin kolach”/kind of Easter cake/. It is prepared by the mother of the girl, and is decorated with red eggs. Girls kiss the hand of the “kumitsata” and from this moment, after having asked her for forgiveness, she starts to speak. When all the girls gather they make a common table, and then the “kumitsata” take them out to the end of the village where on a high, branchy tree a swing is tied and all girls swing. Young men come to these swings ("lyulenki" ) as well, and children can also swing. Easter is celebrated for three days, the first day is Sunday when, after the festive church service people exchange greetings and everyone join the egg tapping with painted eggs. The winner with the strongest egg – “kaltsok”, “katsach”, will be healthy throughout the year. The candle from the church service is brought home, where the whole family gather and greet each other, eat some eggs and ritual bread. The shells of the eggs are placed above the upper threshold of thedoor to keep evil from entering the house. Only then they begin to eat. On Monday, in some areas there is a custom called egg rolling (“razmyatvane”), so the day is called Egg-rolling Monday (“razmetan ponedelnik”). Standing in two groups against each other, girls and boys roll red eggs. This is done for fertility and against hail. On Wednesday after Easter in western Bulgaria special dances are performed, called “Ladino Horo”, and in Bourgas – a ritual game is performed – “Mara-ilishanka”. The performers are always girls and women. The Ladino horo, played in a circle, is cut three times by women with a cloth held overhead, then by young men with sticks in their hands. “Mara-ilishanka” is a doll made of two slippers - red and yellow, decorated with white veil as a bride and wearing a man's shirt. A girl who has already performed the “Lazaruvane” ritual on St’Lazar’s day and whose parents are alive carry the doll, made in a house where no child had died and walk around the village, accompanied by other girls. On a place which is also called “Mara-ilishanka”, they stand in two semi-circles, the inner is led by the girl who carries the doll. She stands with it in her right hand against the two semi-circles. Two by two the girls sing, she hands the doll over to one of the girls and then it is passed to the next, following the two semi-circles. This goes on until the doll again reaches the first girl. Then all go through the village and reaching a river destroy the ritual doll and dump it in the water, and the girls wash their faces. This ritual is performed in order to have rain and fertility, against rail and bad diseases. The whole week after Easter is known as a bright, empty, Tommy Sunday.

 


 

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