Current News

Current News

Today is VASSILYOVDEN (aka. St. Vasilij or St. Basil, the Great)

Today is VASSILYOVDEN (aka. St. Vasilij or St. Basil, the Great)

1/1/2019 9:30:00 AM

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

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 (todays Asia Minor), he fought against  the movements denying Jesus Christs 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 Christs 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.

   The Sourvakane ritual:

Bulgarians call the New Year?s Day by all kinds of names - Sourvaki,  Souroka, Vassilitza or Sourozdru. On the eve of the feast the family gathers round the table, piled with all kinds of dishes - everything that the family had wished to have throughout the year. The mistress of the house should smoke four grains of incense over the ploughshare and by circular motions from left to right she smokes over the whole table, so that evil spirits should fly away. Then she turns three times the pan with the large pastry (the so-called banitsa) in which she had put  the silver coin and the luck-wishing pieces (called "kusmets"), made of small pieces of paper woven around cornel-tree buds. Each member of the family is quick to take their piece in order to see the respective prediction for luck for the year to come. Next morning, very early, the children go around from house to house and tap everybody on the back with beautifully decorated cornel twigs called sourvachka, pronouncing the blessing:

Sourva, sourva, the year, merry and prosperous year!















Lots of wheat in the field, red apples in the orchard,















Gold coin in the cupboard, large grapes on the vine,















Hives full of honey, young chickens all around!















May you be alive and healthy this year and forever!"

The traditional concept and the ritual function of the New Year sourvachka cornel twigs has always been connected to mythological culture - the myth presents the sourva-twig as a form of the Tree of the World, and the sourvakari boys as the mediators between the different worlds that predetermine future prosperity.

After the sourva ritual, toward evening, the houses are visited by young men, disguised in a camel or djamalo -  their function is to wish health and fertility to the hosts during the coming year. The man who defines the directions the djamalo takes pronounces the following blessing:

May there be joy and prosperity where the djamalo sets its foot!















May people be as strong as my mace!















May children be as many as the bees in the hive!















Then the djamalo dies symbolically, so that evil in the house also dies, and comes to life again, symbolising nature waking up again to give more prosperity to people. In return for their vivid performance ? a true verbal and imitative magic, the young men receive food, money and a good treat.

4.5 M Tourists to Visit Bulgaria in 2005
Bulgaria expects some 4.5 million foreign tourists in 2005, reads the Tourism Development Strategy, Deputy Minister of Economy Dimitar Hadjinikolov informed in Varna. US$2 million revenues to the f...
President Kwasniewski Cruised on a Warship
Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski and his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Parvanov cruised on a warship from the coastal city of Varna to Nessebar. The missile corvette 'Lightening&#...
Hundreds to Observe the Mars' Radiance
  The observation of the Great Alignment of Mars and the Earth with the 15-cm telescope in the planetarium in Smolyan town will start from today on. The doors of the biggest planetarium in this c...
The First Museum of Bagpipes Was Established
The establishment of the unique and only of the kind in Bulgaria Museum of the Bagpipes is one of the most attractive ideas in the pre-election campaign of Dancho Kiryakov, nominee for the post of ...
UNESCO 's Secretary General will pay an official visit to Bulgaria
Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, the Secretary General of the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO), will pay an official visit to Bulgaria from 26 to 28 August 2003 on the invi...
The Karayan Festival takes place in Plovdiv
The unique cultural event, based on the model of the famous Vienna Film Festival, started in the year 2001, inspired by Vladimir Vladigerov, the artistic director of the festival. The then-program ...
The Thracian Heritage
The Thracian Heritage
8/20/2003 12:00:00 AM
As we have learned from an article in the SEGA newspaper, dated Aug.25th 2001, the ancient Thracian tombs in Bulgaria are over 15,000. Unfortunately, only 1000 are explored by scientific expedition...
Let?s talk again about the Old Town
Let?s talk again about the Old Town
8/19/2003 12:00:00 AM
We will try to create a fusion of two different articles in the today?s issue of the Maritsa newspaper: the one from page 10, dedicated to Eng. Bozhidar Todorov and his project (which is, unfortuna...
Bulgarian alloy for dentures
Bulgarian alloy for dentures
8/18/2003 12:00:00 AM
/based on an article in the Maritsa Newspaper/A team of metallurgists of the KCM Joint-Stock Company, Plovdiv, has processed and clinically tested gold alloy for metal-ceramics used in the dentist...
?Scene at a Crossroads? Theatrical Festival in Plovdiv
The festival is organized as a mutual project with the International Institute of Mediterranean Theatre ? Madrid, and has annual issues ever since 1997. Leading Bulgarian theatres play their curren...