Pavlyovden



30 June 
(St. Paul’s Day)

BUTTERFLY
There is no strict prohibition for work on St. Peter’s Day but on St. Paul’s Day people don’t work in order to protect themselves from fires. Nobody makes a fire on that day, nobody bakes bread so that wheat does not burn in the field. The folk saying is: “On Peter’s Day you must harvest so that he does not blow the crops away. On Paul’s Day lie face down so that he does not burn the crops!” – “Little Paul makes big trouble!” (Paulus means ‘little’). This is the nameday of Pavel, Pavlina. “Butterfly” is a ritual which has no fixed date. It is usually performed during the “Peter’s month”, when the weather gets dry. Only young girls participate (about a dozen), dressed in shirts with green branches hanging from their belts (branches of elder, ivy or willow). For the “butterfly” is chosen a little girl (8–12 years of age), an orphan or the last born, i.e. the last child in a numerous family, and it is covered all over with greenery. The butterfly goes round the houses from “small noon” until evening but never after dark. When they go into the yard the girls start singing:

A butterfly flies,
through the field it flies and prays to God:
Give us, dear God, rain and rich crops,
To have wheat and rye,
For my mother to make small sweet buns,
Give us, dear God, rich crops!

The butterfly jumps, waves her hands and goes round in a circle. The woman of the house takes out a bucket of water with a few drops of wine in it and pours it over the dancing butterfly. The latter sprinkles everybody for health, rain and fertility. To thank the “priestess”, bearer of good, the woman of the house gives the girls a sieve full of white flour, butter, cheese, eggs and sweets. To the butterfly she gives small coins, a jewelry or a dress. On going out of the house the woman rolls the empty sieve and they guess on it whether the year will be good or bad.






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