Monday, 6 February 2012

February 1st and February 14th, both special days in the wine calender of Bulgaria!

Bulgarian Property
Wine tourism in Bulgaria, this is the region of Melnik

I am an expat living and working in Bulgaria, my passion is selling Real Estate in Bulgaria . I have lived here 8 years and have now settled, living in my Bulgarian house in Veliko Tarnovo. I like to understand and take part in Bulgaria’s history, culture and traditional celebrations when given a chance and on the 1st of February 2012, I was invited to a friend of mine, Lozanka’s name day celebration party which combines with Bulgaria Vine & Wine day. The celebration is widely known in Bulgaria as Trifon Zarezan, from the Bulgarian verb "zaryazvam" meaning to prune vines.

In Bulgaria, the day of St. Trifon was initially celebrated on February 14. Under the Communist regime, the Holiday was largely known as the "Day of the Vine-Grower". In 1968, when the Bulgarian Orthodox Church introduced the Gregorian calendar, the Church began honouring St. Trifon on February 1st , the patron of ‘Vine Growers, Wine Producers and Tavern Keeper’ while February 14th remained the 'Vine Growers' Day.

House in Bulgaria
The men set out to prune the vines in the vineyard


St. Trifon, the patron Saint of Bulgaria marks the celebration of spring, wine and the ‘King.’ Bulgarians celebrate Trifon Zariazvam with folkloric rituals in vineyard villages throughout the country; this day is all about wine, food, friends and family from the village, Bulgarian houses.

Bulgaria Villas
The celebration is widely known in Bulgaria as Trifon Zarezan
The Bulgaria wine growing areas get together to welcome the blooming of a new spring. At each vineyard the men set out to prune the vines, while the women bake festive bread loaves in their houses and prepare roast chicken stuffed with rice.

Each vine-grower, leaves for the Bulgarian land to his vineyard with the bread and the chicken in a new, colourful woven bag and with a vessel (buklitsa) filled with red wine. Before the pruning begins, men turn to the sun and make the sign of the cross three times. After the first three twigs are cut, they wash them with the red wine, holy water and wood ashes that they had kept since Christmas Eve.

Veliko Turnovo
It is the tradition to get drunk to ensure a good harvest the following year
As the winter chill is replaced by the sun and warm breeze of spring, the people of Bulgaria come together for a major feast. Whilst the men are out preparing the fields for the year, the women in their Bulgaria houses prepare a meal befitting for a king. At the end of the day, everyone gathers on amongst the vines to feast. They sing songs, drink wine and dance celebrating Saint Trifon, and the end of the winter. The man who harvested most grapes in the year is appointed "King". He and his subjects must traditionally get drunk to ensure a good harvest the following year.This day is a fantastic time for travellers to soak up Bulgaria’s culture and typically all are welcome and made to feel welcome participating and drinking copious quantities of wine.

Bulgaria Properties
Saint Trifon - God of Wine
There are many different folklore versions of the way this day is celebrated in different parts of the country as well as many different legends about who Trifon was. However, ethnographers are unanimous that the celebrations are rooted in the ancient Dionysus festivities, celebrating Dionysus - the God of Wine, who was known to have taught people everywhere he went, how to grow vines and make wine. The celebrations were accompanied by rampant outdoor games and parties of a very adult nature!

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