Saint Theodore’s day

The religious holiday of Saint Theodore’s is celebrated on the first Saturday of the Lent. It is dedicated to St. Theodore Tyron.

The traditions and customs on the day of Saint Todor are connected with the hopes for health, happiness and fertility.

Bulgarians believed that on this day Saint Theodore put on nine fur-coats, mounted his horse and went to the Lord to ask him to send summer. As he reached the Kingdom of God, he plunged his spear into the ground and tied to it the bridle of his horse . Steam rose from the ground and his wish was carried out.

In the folk calendar it is also known as Horse Easter which is celebrated by honoring the horse with the turbulent Bulgarian Kushii (horse race). On Saint Theodore’s day( Todorovden) at sunrise, men interlace the tails and the manes of the horses, decorate them with beads, tassels and flowers and take them to water. Women knead and give away ritual bread in the shape of horses or horseshoes.

During the day, people gather where the horse race(kushia) takes place. The winner in the race is rewarded with a shirt or towel, the horse gets a bridle.

The ritual meal of the holiday includes bread, potatoes, beans, rice, soup of mushrooms and the traditional lens.

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