Willow Crowns Mark Bulgaria Palm Sunday Celebrations

Culture | April 12, 2009, Sunday // 09:54|  views

Photo by btourism.com

Tsvetnitsa-Vrabnitsa (Palm Sunday) is celebrated Sunday in Bulgaria as the Bulgarian Orthodox Church marks the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Christians in Bulgaria celebrate Tsvetnitsa on the last Sunday of Lent before Orthodox Easter. Tsvetnitsa marks the day of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, before the Holy Week, when believers commemorate the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. It is the holiday of fields, meadows and forests.

Bulgarian Orthodox tradition uses more readily-available willow branches instead of palm ones, and people wind them into small crowns they put on the head of young children for health and blessing.

Early in the morning on Tsvetnitsa the young girls who have been ‘lazarki' on the previous day (Lazarovden- the last Saturday before Easter) 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 ‘kumitsa'. She invites everybody to her house where they all sit down to a 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 and sing the Lazarovden songs.

People with flower-related names, (for example Tzviatko, Margarita, Lilia, Violeta, Yavor, Zdravko, Zjumbjul, Nevena, Temenuzhka, etc.) celebrate this day as their name day.

Meanwhile, Sunday marks Easter Day for most Christian Western churches. The discrepancy in dates occurs due to the fact that Western Churches use the Gregorian Calendar and Eastern Orthodox Churches use the Julian Calendar.


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Tags: Tsvetnitsa-Vrabnitsa, Orthodox, Palm Sunday


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