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.