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TSVETNITSA - VRUBNITSA (Palm Sunday)

TSVETNITSA - VRUBNITSA (Palm Sunday)

4/13/2014 7:40:00 AM
Name day of everyone named after a flower, bush or tree (Tsvetelina, Lilia, Yavor, Yassen, Roza, Iglika, Violeta, Varban, Latinka, Temenuga, Karamfila, Zdravko, Kamelia etc).

Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week. It celebrates the story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where people spread palm branches and clothing before Him. During Palm Sunday services, many churches distribute cut palm leaves, sometimes woven into the shape of a cross. Greek Orthodox Christians receive branches of fragrant bay leaves. The leaves are then used in cooking during the year. Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter) so called from the custom of blessing palms and of carrying portions of branches in procession, in commemoration of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Tsvetnitsa-Vrubnitsa (Palm Sunday) is one of the biggest Bulgarian holidays, rich in a variety of customs, songs and melodies. The holiday is held annually on the Sunday before Easter and it is the people's belief that this is the holiday of the fields, meadows and forests. Being one of the most beautiful spring holidays it celebrates the day of the entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, when he was welcomed with palms and olive branches. ) Òsvetnitsa-Vrubnitsa is the nameday of everyone named after a flower, plant or tree.

Early in the morning on Tsvetnitsa the young girls who have been ‘lazarki' on the previous day go to the nearest river. After they find a place where the water is calm they put pieces of traditional bread on willow barks and throw them into the water. The girl whose bark outsails those of the others is pronounced for ‘kumitsa'. She invites everybody to her house where they all sit down to table on which traditional bread, hominy and mashed nettle are served. Groups of young girls, wearing the traditional national costumes, carry hand baskets to collect eggs as gifts. They sing The Lazar Day songs. On Tsvetnitsa-Vrabnitsa all those named after flowers, plants or trees celebrate their name day.

Tsvetnitsa-Vrubnitsa (Palm Sunday) is one of the greatest and most important Bulgarian traditional feasts, celebrated by a large variety of customs, songs and melodies. The feast is held annually on the Sunday before Easter and according to the tradition is a holiday of fields, meadows and forests. Tsvetnitsa-Vrubnitsa is the name day of everyone named after a flower, plant or tree.

Early in the morning on Tsvetnitsa, the young girls who were ‘lazarki' the previous day go to the nearest river. After they have found a place with calm water they place pieces of traditional bread on willow barks and throw them into the water. The girl whose bark outsails the other ones is pronounced as the ‘kumitsa'. She invites everybody to her house where they all sit around the table where traditional bread, hominy (called "kachamak" in BG) and nettle puree are served. Groups of young girls, wearing traditional national costumes, carry hand baskets to collect eggs as gifts, and sing The Lazarus Day songs.

Tsvetnitsa has always been celebrated on the Sunday preceding Easter – the feast is also popular under the name of Vrubnitsa (i.e. the Feast of the willow branches). Ever since pagan times, the Slavs believed that willow had the feature to protect people from evil black magic and help people, animals and crops escape diseases and natural disaster.

The very same way as the “ladouvane” on the Vasiiljovden (Jan 1st) and the fortune-telling on the Enyovden (June 24th), Tsvetnitsa is also a day for young women to gather. They tie their rings with red threads and drop them into a vessel full of “silent water”. The girl that is having a name day and is the hostess of that gathering would take the rings out, with her eyes blindfold, and predict who the husband of the girl whose ring has been just taken out would be. Those predictions have always been accompanied by a lot of giggles, jokes and fun.

Tsvetnitsa is one of the 12 Greatest Feasts of the Orthodox Church. Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem for the Pasha Feast, and was met by people waving bay and palm branches, welcoming the Messiah that had resurrected Lazarus the day before. Very much like Jerusalem people, Bulgarian Christians attend the Tsvetnitsa Feast day to get willow branches, consecrated in the church. Then they decorate with those branches, very often woven in wreaths, the house icons and photographs for health’s sake. When those wreaths and branches get dried, they are never thrown away – women keep them as a cure against fright or sickness. When the sky gets covered with thunderstorm clouds and a storm starts, those dry leaves are being laid under a stone, and then the disaster just goes away. That was what our ancestors believed in. All day long on the Tsvetnitsa Feast people are having celebrations, eating and drinking and enjoying themselves. Although the strict Easter Fasting routine, the Orthodox Church allows the consumption of fish during the day.

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