Egg-cellent Traditions: Painting Eggs and Celebrating Maundy Thursday in Bulgaria

Culture | May 2, 2024, Thursday // 09:00|  views

Maundy Thursday, observed on April 13 this year, marks a significant moment in Holy Week for Bulgarians, rich in traditions and spiritual meaning. It is the day before the Resurrection feast, where ancient customs intertwine with religious rituals.

On this auspicious day, the practice of wishing for something while holding money or another valuable item prevails. According to tradition, those who are righteous may find their desires fulfilled.

Central to Maundy Thursday customs is the painting of eggs, with the first egg being painted red. This egg carries symbolic importance, as it is used to make the sign of the cross on the foreheads of family members, signifying blessings of health, joy, and happiness.

The day commemorates the biblical events of Jesus Christ's last supper with his apostles, during which he washed their feet and instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist. The significance of receiving Christ's body and blood during the Holy Liturgy is emphasized, urging believers to strive for purity of heart.

The evening of Maundy Thursday is marked by the renewal of leaven and the kneading of dough for Easter bread, known by various names across Bulgaria. These breads are intricately decorated and often contain red eggs, symbolizing Christ's blood.

Kozunak, a sweet ritual bread symbolizing Christ's body, is also prepared on this day. Often round in shape and adorned with braids, kozunak is accompanied by a red egg placed in the middle.

In the evening, Good Friday matins are observed, where passages from the Gospel depicting Christ's suffering and death on the cross are read. This solemn occasion serves as a reminder of Christ's sacrifice for humanity's redemption.

As part of the rituals, priests take the cross out of the altar, symbolizing Christ's journey to Calvary, and anoint willing individuals with oil of health during the oil consecration ceremony.

Maundy Thursday in Bulgaria is a time of reflection, tradition, and spiritual observance, bringing communities together in reverence and celebration.

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Tags: Maundy Thursday, Bulgaria, traditions, customs


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