Between Christianity and Paganism: The Bulgarian Spring Holidays and Customs


Description in 3 parts

Part I:

The spring has always had a special place in the Bulgarian folklore calendar (Българския фолклорен календар). It is considered not only as a new beginning, but also as a time with very meaningful rituals (много значими обреди). The difficult travel and restrictions can cause a lot of inconvenience, but one thing is certain – the pandemic created an unexpected opportunity for Bulgarians to get to know their own country with its fascinating secrets and traditions. We offer you to start your sightseeing tour of Bulgaria with a walk among the most beautiful Bulgarian holidays and folk customs that the spring season can give us…

Part II:

Lazarus Saturday (Лазаровден) is the apotheosis of spring in the Bulgarian folklore calendar. It does not have a fixed date, like Easter and Palm Sunday. It is associated with the biblical figure of Lazarus, whom Jesus resurrected on the fourth day after his burial, in gratitude for his hospitality. An extremely important part of the holiday is the custom of “lazaruvane” (лазаруване). It is performed only by girls and women. Apart from being extremely beautiful with his songs and wishes for prosperity, it is also connected with the “transition” of the young girls to maidens who can get married. It is believed that if any girl has not been lazarka (лазарка), she will not find a husband. It remains a popular custom to this day – it is practiced in its “modern” version in many kindergartens, community centers and schools…

Part III:

The vatafin receives his male inheritance title. He chooses the roussaliies (русалиите) in his group by physical qualities, mental resilience and ability to keep secrets. They go all week and dance everywhere. Few have heard of them as they prefer to keep information about their roots, beliefs and rituals shrouded in mystery. It is an interesting fact that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has never denied the roussaliies and their pagan practices. In most cases the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has patronized them.


Why is this cultural treasure important to you?

My cultural treasure is important for me because it make me feel proud of my cultural identity.

How is youth connected to your cultural treasure?

I think that the young people are those who will change the world.

Is the cultural treasure you want to share typically only in your country?

I don’t think so. The Bulgarian cultural treasure is a combination of all cultural influence that was on our land.

How to preserve and pass on cultural heritage to younger generations?

I believe that the easiest way is to transform some of the customs in their “modern” version.

What is the way to give our knowledge to younger generations (educational system, youth festivals and holidays)?

All of them!

More information on this cultural treasure below:


This project has received funding from the Staatsministerium Baden-Württemberg and the City of Ulm. This website was funded by BMFSJ.

Design and implementation by Arivum. All rights reserved