Before sunrise the women make rite bread in the shape of a horse or a horseshoe and decorate them with walnuts, garlic and salt. Every housewife visits her neighbors and gives them from the bread she has baked and while she does so she hops runs and imitates the movements and whinnying of the horses. Her ambition is to be first. Pieces from the rite bread are mixed with the food of the horses. The most interesting element of the holiday is the so-called kushia or horse racing. On Todor’s Day are performed different rites connected with the young brides in their first year of marriage. In western Bulgaria, the just married young women go to church on Friday evening, wearing their wedding dresses. Their mothers-in-law who carry bowls full of boiled corn and ring-shaped cakes usually accompany them. The brides wait outside the church and the mothers-in-law enter inside, where the priest blesses the items they bring. On their way out they kick the brides. The blessed corn is spread over the gardens for rich harvest.
Another interesting rite practice for health and fertility is implemented in some parts of Bulgaria – in the morning of the holiday the young brides bake small loafs of bread. Festively dressed they visit the houses of their neighbors, friends and relatives, give them bread and bless their children for health. In the end the brides go to their parents’ houses accompanied by their husbands and parents-in-law. A festive table is laid. Very early on Todor’s Day the mothers bathe their children so that they are healthy. Before the horse race all women wash their hair with water mixed with straw from the horses’ mangers. They throw the already used water in the street, behind the horses so that their hair is long and strong as the horse’s mane.
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