Christmas Eve in Bulgaria (24/12)

Christmas Eve (or, as it is called in Bulgarian, "Everyday Evening", "Small Kolyada"), which is celebrated on December 24, is one of the most well-established family holidays in the national holiday calendar of the Bulgarians. This is a kind of holiday on the eve of the holiday: Christmas Eve is completely devoted to preparations for the big holiday - the Nativity of Christ.

Preparations apply to both men and women. Men, as a rule, gather in groups, cut a pig for the festive table the next day and skin it. At this time, women bake ceremonial bread and prepare Lenten dishes for Christmas Eve. And the owner of the house prepares "bydnik" ("god") - a thick (usually oak) log for the festive hearth. This "bydnik" personifies the "Young God", who will be reborn this night.

When the owner enters the house with a log, he always asks: “Do you praise the Young God?”, To which the immediate answer follows: “We praise, we praise, welcome!”. In the past, "bydnik" was even poured with myrrh oil and wrapped in white linen. The introduction of this log-symbol into the house represents an increase in the harvest and the addition of livestock in the coming year. In the evening, when the hearth (fireplace) is lit, the “bydnik” is placed in the middle so that it burns all night.