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Saturday 14 December 2019
09 December 2019 - 15 December 2019
October 2022

Saint Nicholas, the Miracle Maker (Nikulden)

On December 6, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church honors Saint Nicholas, the Miracle Maker (Nikulden). St. Nicholas is revered by both Catholics and Orthodox Christians. He is the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, as well as protector of the those that are suffering, innocent, weak and oppressed. Bankers also celebrate on this day. On this day every Christian family in Bulgaria celebrates and all housewives prepare a fish meal – most often a carp dish.
There are two temples in Sofia that bear the name of the saint - St. Nicholas of Myra, the Miracle Maker Church is in the city center (8 Kaloyan Street), opposite the Holy Metropolis of Sofia. The second temple honoring the saint is located in Vrabnitsa quarter.
Religious Holidays

From December 22 to 30 Jews Celebrate Hanukkah

On December 22, 2019 Jews begin celebrating Hanukkah - the Festival of Lights. Every night during the eight-day holiday (till December 30, 2019) a candle in a special menorah is lit in all synagogues and in every Jewish house. Every year at Central Sofia Synagogue after 5:40 pm the first candle is lit by someone respected by the Jewish community and a blessing is read. The holiday reminds us of the miracle that happened in 3597 (165-167 BC) when the Jews gained their freedom and the temple was once again lit up – a cruse of pure olive oil which was enough to light the menorah for one day lit it for 8 days. Thus, the Jews were able to prepare pure oil for the candlestick. During the 8-day holiday the Jews eat oil-based foods such as jelly doughnuts (sufganiot) and potato pancakes (latkes) to commemorate the miracle of the menorah oil.
Religious Holidays

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a family holiday usually celebrated at home. Traditionally before the festive dinner the host puts a special log in the fireplace – budnik, which burns throughout the night. On Christmas Eve the festive meal consists of an odd number of lenten dishes – 9 for the Catholics, and 7, 9 or, 11 for the Orthodox Christians. There is also a festive round loaf of bread with a coin put into the dough during the kneading. It is believed that whoever finds the coin in their piece of bread will be healthy and lucky throughout the following year.
After dinner, the dishes are left on the table for the whole night. Catholics also place one utensil, which is not used - for loved ones who have died.
On Christmas Eve, Catholics always accept someone in their family - a person who is alone. This tradition is also characteristic of most Orthodox Christian families.
Religious Holidays

Nativity of Jesus

The Nativity of Jesus is one of the greatest Christian holidays and it is celebrated by Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants ... For the Orthodox Church it is the second most important feast. On this day people celebrate the birth of Jesus and the beginning of people’s salvation. After the appearance of the first evening star in the sky, a Divine Liturgy is held in all churches around the world. It recalls the Old Testament prophecies and events related to the birth of the Savior. Traditionally, it is considered that the feast begins with the custom of Koleduvane (a kind of Christmas caroling ) in the early hours of December 25. Only young men take part in this tradition and they are called koledari. According to the old Bulgarian custom, in Zheleznitsa koledari visit all houses in the village and wish prosperity, health, luck and success throughout the New Year and are given food and ring-shaped bagels.
On this day, the Nativity Fast ends and thus there are all kinds of food and especially pork dishes on the table. Hristo, Bozhin, Mladen, Radomir, Radoslav, Raostin, Christian and others celebrate their name day on this date.
December 26 – the second day of Christmas, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
On December 27 we honor Saint Stephen (Stephan’s day), and the Christmas holidays come to an end.
Religious Holidays