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Traditions Revive as Bulgarians Prepare to Meet Christmas

Date: 24.12.2008

As Bulgarians prepare to meet Christmas, old traditions revive on the eve before the holy day.

Throughout the country traditions vary, but some things are certain. The meals have to be an uneven number, seven at the least and they've all got to be Lenten. Normally this dinner would mark the end of the great Advent Lents that had started forty days ago.

A coin is mixed with the dough of the bread and it is believed that whoever receives the piece with the coin would be extremely lucky throughout the year.

After dinner the table is left as it is, so the spirits of the dead can also try the meals.

Some also place a thick log called "badnik" in their fireplace, which is supposed to keep the fire going for the whole night.

Adult carol singers traditionally start their rounds in villages at midnight on Christmas eve, saying Christmas blessings and singing carols, which at places could be as many as 80 altogether.

The Christmas celebrations continue until St. Stephen's Day on December 27. According to Bulgarian traditions, it is considered a serious sin if one works through these three days.

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