Bozhik is the name of the old traditional folklore celebration of Christmas in Bulgaria. It takes place every year on 26th December in the village of Spatovo, near Sandanski in the southwest of the country. It starts off very early in the morning with a gospel singing session in the village’s tiny church which lasts about 3 hours, interrupted by the local priest’s preaches. At the end of it he goes around wishing everyone a fruitful and merry new year and performs the last sermon, followed by the traditional breaking and distribution of the specially-prepared bread by the eldest women in the community.
After the ceremony in the church everyone heads off to the village square where people perform traditional for the region dances to the ensemble of local folklore music instruments. Whoever owns or can borrow the customary pieces of clothing wears them to the gathering in order to respect the custom’s traditions and keep the tradition alive. Everyone is welcome to join the horo (in Bulgarian – хоро) which means a dance performed to a specific rhythm and type of music depending on the instruments, specific to e certain region of the country. There can be many different horo’s per region or town and each has its own distinctive features.
After hours of singing and dancing, and when everyone has had their meal and the chance to try the selection of local wines, the celebration slowly comes to its end with people going back to the warmth of their homes.
A girl dressed in traditional North-Eastern Bulgarian clothing, a guest at the celebrations.
A girl dressed in traditional North-Eastern Bulgarian clothing, a guest at the celebrations.
The local priest during the early morning sermon at the village's church.
The local priest during the early morning sermon at the village's church.
Two elderly women breaking the homemade bread to give to everyone who came to the sermon at the church at the end of the ceremony.
Two elderly women breaking the homemade bread to give to everyone who came to the sermon at the church at the end of the ceremony.
All the women who had gathered in the church head to the village's centre where the bigger part of the Christmas celebrations take place.
All the women who had gathered in the church head to the village's centre where the bigger part of the Christmas celebrations take place.
On the way from the little church to the village centre.
On the way from the little church to the village centre.
A father and his son kiss the priest's hand as he sprays them with holy water for.
A father and his son kiss the priest's hand as he sprays them with holy water for.
Some of the women attending the Christmas celebrations, now at the village's centre.
Some of the women attending the Christmas celebrations, now at the village's centre.
A local orchestra playing traditional folk music to which people dance.
A local orchestra playing traditional folk music to which people dance.
A traditional dance from the South-Western region.
A traditional dance from the South-Western region.
One of the women taking part on performing local dances.
One of the women taking part on performing local dances.
Women performing a Horo, which is the Bulgarian word for a traditional folk dance performed by two or more people, and each folklore region has specific horos.
Women performing a Horo, which is the Bulgarian word for a traditional folk dance performed by two or more people, and each folklore region has specific horos.
An elderly woman observing the celebrations from the side.
An elderly woman observing the celebrations from the side.
Many different horos are performed during the lunchtime celebrations, each and every different to the other.
Many different horos are performed during the lunchtime celebrations, each and every different to the other.
The organisers of the event, Elena and Yane, and their son Alex in the middle.
The organisers of the event, Elena and Yane, and their son Alex in the middle.
One of the final horos, where almost everyone who has come to celebrate takes part in.
One of the final horos, where almost everyone who has come to celebrate takes part in.

You may also like

Back to Top