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January 1st - St Vassilij Day

January 1st - St Vassilij Day

1/1/2009 7:20:46 AM

Name day of everyone named Vassil, Vassilka, Vassilena, Vesselina, Vesselin, Vessela, Vessie, Veska, Vulko (the name"Vassiliy" has the meaning of "regal" in Greek).

On January 1st, the Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates St. Vassilij the Great (or as in the Greek calendar, St.Basil), who lived around 330-379. Being a bishop in the Caesar’s territory of Capadocia (today’s Asia Minor), he fought against the movements denying Jesus Christ’s divine origin, and he succeeded in imposing the principles of the Orthodox Christianity to a large part of the Roman Empire territories. It was him who popularized the ideas of “active forgiveness” and “doing good deeds as an implementation of Christ’s concept of love and forgiveness”. He used to be called “the Great” long before his death. He was canonized as a saint, and the day of his death (January 1st) has been celebrated each year ever since.

Bulgarians celebrate the first day of the New Year by a large number of traditional rituals. The most popular among them is the “sourvakane” - tapping the back of each member of the family by means of a specially decorated cornel-tree twig called "sourvaknitza" - for health and good luck. In mythology the cornel-tree stands for the live power of the good forces. On this day, people in masks, called "sourvakari" (also "camilari", "babougeri", "startzi" and "djamali") visit peoples' homes and give blessings for health and fertility.

more: PlovdivGuide.com Taditions and Namedays section

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